Trigger Warning: Violence
A heavily pregnant Muslim woman was brutally assaulted in a western Sydney cafe.
According to NSW police, the 31-year-old, who is 38 weeks pregnant, was with friends on Church Street, in a Parramatta eatery at 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday when a man randomly approached their table. Daily Mail reports that the man leaned over and punched her several times in the head.
Indeed, a horrifying CCTV footage shows the man having a brief conversation with the group before lunging over the table and repeatedly punching Ms. Elasmar in the face and head. The pregnant woman is seen falling off her chair.
The man is then seen stomping on her head before other patrons at the cafe intervene and pull him away from her. According to police, the man was not known to the women and they were investigating if the attack was racially motivated. Apparently, Stipe Lozina, made a comment about Muslims before Ms. Elasmar was assaulted.
"Our police investigation is still in its infancy but it would appear to be completely random and unprovoked," Parramatta police Inspector Lucas Sywenkyj said.
Ms. Elasmar was treated for minor injuries at Westmead Hospital. She then took to Facebook to open up about the "lack of humanity" behind her assault. She said members of the Muslim community were familiar with being on the receiving end of Islamophobia.
"I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I am a Muslim," Ms. Elasmar said. "I have experienced occurrences of verbal abuse and hate from other Australians in the past, but I have never thought that physical abuse of this nature could happen to me."
Mr. Lozina was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray. He appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday and had his bail application refused.
The Executive Officer of the Muslim Women's Association, Maha Abdo, said her organisation had spoken with a member of Ms. Elasmar's family to express their support. She added that it was very worrying. The assault happened in the week a study was released showing women wearing headscarves were at the most risk of Islamophobic attacks.
"We are mothers, wives, daughters … and we deserve to feel safe wherever we go," Ms. Elasmar said. "I fear for the world our children will grow up in if this issue is not addressed."