A Sydney man has been charged for punching and kicking on a heavily pregnant Muslim woman unprovoked. Australian Islamic association described it as an “Islamophobic” attack.
A shocking security camera footage showed a man approaching a table of three Muslim women, wearing headscarves as they chatted in the city’s west on Wednesday.
Seemingly without provocation, the 43-year-old suspect was seen lunging over the table to attack 31-year-old woman, who police said is 38 weeks pregnant.
It was clearly seen in the footage that the man started punching and kicking the heavily pregnant woman until she fell down on the ground, then the bartender of the restaurant came forward to save the woman and the wrestled the assailant away.
According the Sydney police, the suspect has been charged with “assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray” and denied bail.
They declined to comment on the atteacke’s motives, but left open the possibility charges being laid against him.
On Thursday, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) said that the man was heard yelling anti-Islamic hate speech at the victim and her friends.
“This was clearly a racist and Islamophobic attack and we expect it to be treated as such,” said AFIC president Rateb Jneid.
In addition to that, police inspector Luke Sywenkyj said,
“If it were not for the brave actions of these members of the community in stopping the assault the victim may very well have sustained much more serious injuries.”
The police said on Friday that the woman was taken to the hospital following the attack and discharged.
A recent report by researchers at Charles Sturt University found Islamophobia in Australia was “a continuous phenomenon” and women wearing a headscarf are especially at risk.
The woman who was attacked, told the whole scenario and expressed her feelings on her social media account. She wrote,
“For me, the verbal abuse was already too much and I know the Islamic community feels the same. It is NOT ok. How somebody feels like they have the right to abuse another human being baffles me. It shows a lack of humanity. It shows weakness”