Dai Le calls for reassurance from police ‘as soon as possible’ following Wakeley stabbing

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The labelling of the stabbing at a church in Wakeley as a terrorist incident has left the local community on edge, federal independent MP for the southwestern Sydney are Dai Le says.

Ms Le, whose electorate of Fowler is home to the Christ Good Shepherd Church where its leader, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and several worshippers were allegedly stabbed by a 16-year-old on April 15.

NSW police quickly declared the incident as a terrorist attack motivated by suspected religious extremism.

Speaking on Sunday, the Fowler MP said while she was satisfied with the response of law enforcement agencies, she called for them to reassure the community that they are safe following the incident.

“I questioned how they came to that conclusion so quickly,” Ms Le told the ABC’s Insiders program.

“Living in a very multifaith, multicultural electorate like mine, it’s so sensitive and is a very difficult conversation that we must have and I need to have with my community.

“I hope that they … will reassure our community as soon as possible.”

Ms Le said authorities needed to be cognisant of the fact that former refugees who had fled terrorism were among her constituents.

The electorate of Fowler is home to one of the country’s largest Assyrian diasporas, with many of its members fleeing Iraq where they face persecution, most recently by ISIS.

“When we talk about a terror act, we just need to be aware of how that language lands in a community like Fowler and in other areas where multi faith and multicultural communities are living side-by-side,” she said.

“Many of our communities who escaped tyrannical regimes … with that word, what it brings on is people are feeling, ‘Oh my God, terror has followed us’.

“That will make people live on edge.

I hope that they know what they’re doing when they label a criminal act with such a label and that they will reassure our community as soon as possible to ensure that people who have escaped terrorism from the Middle East, that they feel they are safe here.”

Police have charged six teenagers with terrorism-related offences following raids across Sydney last week, as an investigation into allegations of an extremist youth network continues.

Later in the interview, Ms Le revealed that while Opposition Leader Peter Dutton had reached out following the incident to “check in” and had visited Fowler, she was yet to hear from the Prime Minister.

“The Opposition Leader reached out following the Wakeley incident and asked us to dinner, just to check in, to see if there are issues important to our community,” she said.

“I think he’s the only one that reached out and came out to see us.”

Asked if the Prime Minister had been to Wakeley, Ms Le said he had travelled to her electorate previously, but not since the stabbing incident.

“No, he has been out there previously, but in different scenarios,” she said.

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