Bizarre reason for fatal Scientology stabbing
THE Church of Scientology has blamed a Hollywood TV network for the fatal stabbing of a young man at its Sydney church.
The 24-year-old Taiwanese man died after he was stabbed in the neck on January 3 at the church's Chatswood branch.
Police arrested and charged a 16-year-old boy with murder, common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.
The Seven Network has revealed the church sent a strongly-worded letter to A&E Networks Group, an American TV network, accusing it of "inspiring bigotry and violence" by airing the Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath series.
The church also blamed the show's co-hosts - Australian Mike Rinder and Hollywood actress Leah Remini - for the stabbing.
"Week after week, month after month, and now year after year this series has poisoned the airwaves in an avowed effort to create hatred against the Scientology religion," reads the letter, which was penned by American church official Karin Pouw.
"Hatred and propaganda always find their mark, and now it has born strange and bitter fruit."
The letter urged the network to "Stop your program".
Rinder dismissed the church's allegations, saying the letter was an attempt to shift blame from the religion.
"They basically seek to shift the blame to our show for their abuses. The statement that this is all caused by A&E and our show because someone apparently looked at a website that mentioned our show - that's absurd," he told Seven News.
The stabbing incident is alleged to have occurred on the driveway to the church after the 16-year-old was asked to leave.
Police said the teen was escorted from the premises - and as he was taken down the road a 25cm "very sharp kitchen knife" was allegedly produced.
Police said the 24-year-old, who is believed to be from Taiwan, died in hospital. He was "bleeding heavily" from the neck when paramedics arrived.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Jones said when officers arrived they asked the 16-year-old to drop the knife and drew their tasers to get him to drop the knife.
"At this stage it's very early. It would appear the altercation, or the reason the young person has been removed from the premises, was only and solely in relation to a domestic incident that occurred yesterday."
The victim couldn't be saved, he said.
"At this stage unfortunately the 24-year-old male has passed away and inquiries are being made to contact family.
The headquarters for the church was officially opened in the leafy suburb of Chatswood in December 2016.
More than 100 Scientology members are reportedly bussed into the fancy building daily to study "Dianetics" (the church's key teachings on the science of the mind), take courses in purification to rid them of "toxic residues" and attend "auditing" sessions costing thousands of dollars to help them overcome their past and ascend to a higher level of existence.
It is also known as Advanced Organisation Saint Hill Australia New Zealand Oceania, providing "advanced religious services" to Scientologists from across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
The centre is said to be its biggest spiritual centre outside the United States.