A Vietnamese university student whose Islamophobic attack on an Australian Muslim woman went viral on the internet told a court that she shouted at the victim because her niqab was scary.
The 90-second video which had been viewed more than 1.6 million times shows Suong Thao Nguyen banging on a car window and shouting, “Who are you? Take it off, you terrorist,” to a woman who had locked herself inside her car with her husband.
Yesterday, the 36-year-old immigrant mother of two was convicted and sentenced at Burwood Local Court to a 24-month “Good Behaviour Bond” and fined $750 after pleading guilty to intimidating Semaa Abdulwali and her husband Ramzy Alamudi and damaging their car at Macquarie University campus on Friday 20 January.
The court heard that Ms Abdulwali was wearing a niqab when she and her husband saw Ms Nguyen staring at them.
After Mr Alamudi asked Nguyen, “is something wrong?” She approached their car and began hitting the windows, screaming at them and scratching the car with her keys.
After sitting in their car for about a minute, Mr Alamudi got out and restrained Ms Nguyen.
University security was called and Ms Nguyen was arrested by police shortly after.
Ms Nguyen’s lawyer, Andrew Tiedt, told Magistrate Suzanne Seagrave that there was “no excuse for what happened,” and Ms Nguyen was sorry for putting the couple through an “extraordinary unpleasant experience.”
He added: “She was scared, she was afraid of them and completely overreacted.”
Magistrate Seagrave said that the incident was a “completely unprovoked attack” by Ms Nguyen who reacted with “resentment and anger” to Ms Abdulwali’s niqab.
She said: “Ms Nguyen was unable or unwilling to control her impulses on this occasion and there was no provocative behaviour whatsoever by either victim that could explain this gross over-reaction.”
Magistrate Seagrave described Ms Nguyen’s behaviour as “wrong and unacceptable” and that such prejudice had no place in Australian society.
She ordered Ms Nguyen to be placed on a 24-month good behaviour bond, and for her to be supervised under Community Corrections, which will include counselling and anger management.
She was also ordered to pay $817.85 for damaging the victim’s car.