Muslim, Pregnant Woman Allegedly Attacked By A Stranger Says She Won't ‘Sit Silent’
Heavily pregnant Rana Elasmar, who was allegedly hit during what is believed to be a racially-motivated attack in western Sydney, has spoken out.
Elasmar, who is 38-weeks pregnant, was hit in the head while dining out with friends at a cafe in Parramatta on Wednesday night.
Security vision of the incident shows the accused briefly speaking to Elasmar and her friends at their outside table before he allegedly hits her over the head 14 times before stomping on her head as she lay on the ground.
Authorities are investigating whether the attack was influenced by Islamophobia as Elasmar, who is a Muslim, was wearing a hijab.
On Sunday, Elasmar, 31, posted a statement on Facebook and said it "shows a lack of humanity" for another person to abuse someone.
"This man verbalised his hatred of Muslims prior to hitting me," she alleged in the post.
"He decided that he was going to take it in his power to act upon his hatred and he neither know me, nor my religion."
Elasmar, who was born and raised in Sydney, said she has regularly experienced occurrences of racial verbal abuse from other Australians, but "never thought" physical abuse would happen to her.
"For me, the verbal abuse was already too much and I know the Islamic community feels the same," she said.
"It is NOT ok."
Elasmar said she wanted to see a world where people defended others from "cowardly acts" and to "band together to protect the victims".
"We cannot allow behaviour like this to become the norm and sit silent," she said.
On Saturday, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Chin Tan, condemned the alleged act of violence in a post on Facebook.
"There is no place in Australian society for violence of any form, and I condemn it the strongest possible terms," he said.
"Every person has the right to be safe and secure in our community."
This type of alleged brazen attack in a public place is becoming increasingly common.
The analysis of nearly 350 incidents reported to the Islamophobia Register Australia in 2016 and 2017 also showed perpetrators were becoming more brazen, with a 30 per cent increase in attacks in places guarded by security officers.
The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report, released on Monday, found 60 per cent of attacks occurred in public in 2016 and 2017.
The alleged attacker, 41, fronted court on Thursday after being charged with affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
“After making a comment about Muslims, you approached her and punched her to the head 14 times,” Magistrate Tim Keady said.
“The matters described here as violent, irrational and it is influenced as a mental health problem,” he said.
The alleged attack did not have legal representation during his court appearance.
He was refused bail and will stay behind bars until at least Decembers.
Elasmar was released from Westmead Hospital on Thursday and is recovering at home.