SYDNEY – Four Muslim students were assaulted by a woman who punched them in the face outside the University of Technology in Ultimo on Wednesday, leaving one victim with a bloodied mouth.
“[I was] staring absentmindedly ahead of me when some lady … came up to me and punched me in the face,” said Hanan Merheb on Facebook, The Guardian reported on Thursday, May 11.
“In front of me, another hijabi had just been punched, and just behind, this same woman was about to punch yet another hijabi.
“She just punched me and walked off, as casually as if she had just come to say hello.”
The four women, two 18-year olds, a 19-year old and a 23-year old, were all students at the University of Technology.
Kais Al-momani posted on Facebook claiming to have witnessed the attack.
“I didn’t know what had happened but I could see straight away that her mouth was covered in blood. She was crying and shaking and said she’d been punched in the face and knocked to the ground by another woman who she didn’t know.
“[She] was a young student from a migrant background. As you can imagine she was absolutely terrified after this incident … I wish there was more we could do as academics, and as a university, to support victims like her, and to make our campus a safe place for everyone.”
The attacker appeared in central local court on Thursday, charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and two counts of common assault.
The shocking attack was condemned by Islamophobia Register Australia, saying they are investigating the matter.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country’s second largest religion after Christianity.
In post 9/11 Australia, Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.