An attack on two elderly nuns who were robbed at knifepoint inside the sleeping quarters of a Buddhist temple in Sydney's west has been labelled as "cowardly" and "completely disrespectful".
Police say a pair of balaclava-clad men forced their way into the Phuoc Hue Buddhist Monastery at Wetherill Park on Monday night where they found the women, aged 81 and 88, sleeping inside.
One attacker pushed the 81-year-old to the ground and held her down with his foot while the other ransacked the room.
The pair then fled the scene with some cash and an iPad.
"Cowardly, disgraceful and completely disrespectful - for someone to attack elderly ladies, let alone Buddhist nuns, is frankly disgraceful," Superintendent Peter Lennon told reporters at Fairfield Police Station on Tuesday morning.
"Pathetic criminals is a good description of these people."
Both women were treated for shock, and the 81-year-old was taken to hospital for bruising and was later released.
Resident nun Phuoc Hy said the attack has shocked the religious residents of the monastery, which houses more than 20 nuns.
"I feel unsafe, it's very scary, can't believe it," she said.
"They were shaking... Why these people do that to the temple?"
Police are reviewing CCTV footage around the area.