Pregnant Muslim women punched, stomped on in Sydney cafe
in Sydney cafe
The horrifying ordeal, captured by CCTV, saw 31-year-old Rana Elasmar assaulted by a man who approached her as she sat with a group of friends at Bay Vista cafe on Church Street, Parramatta, at 10.30 pm.
The man can be seen stopping to talk to the three women, who don the Islamic headscarf.
He then suddenly leans over and punches the victim several times in the head and upper body, causing her to fall to the ground as her friends attempt to hold him back.
Elasmar was punched at least 14 times in the head before she fell on the floor and stomped on twice, according to the shocking footage.
She was taken to a local hospital, where she was later discharged.
The attacker, identified as Stipe Lozina, 43, allegedly made a comment about Muslims before attacking the woman, according to local media reports.
He was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm. His request for bail was denied by Parramatta Local Court.
Local police praised the efforts of the bystanders who intervened.
"If it were not for the brave actions of these members of the community in stopping the assault, the victim may well have sustained much more serious injuries," Inspector Luke Sywenkyj from NSW Police told reporters on Thursday.
According to the 2016 Australian Census, Muslims make up 2.6% of the total of Australian population.
A recent analysis of hate crimes in Australia showed that Muslim women and girls were the most common targets of the nearly 350 Islamophobic incidents reported over a two-year period.
The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report found 60 per cent of attacks occurred in public in 2016 and 2017, double the proportion of recorded incidents in the previous 15 months.
|Read more: It's time Australia faced up to its shameful Islamophobia|