A Muslim woman who was viciously attacked by a man in a Sydney cafe has said that she has been verbally abused before.
Rana Elasmar, who is 38 weeks pregnant, was brutally attacked by Stipe Lozina in a cafe in Parramatta.
She was out dining with friends on Wednesday when the perpetrator started punching and kicking her.
Lozina shouted Islamophobic abuse at the women who were all wearing the hijab.
Ms Elasmar posted the following statement on her Facebook in response to the attack:
“First and foremost I would like to start by thanking all the people who came to see me, those who have offered kind words and comfort through messages and calls, as well as those who have messaged their support through various Facebook posts. I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you, it truly means a lot.
“I have always been a very private person and don’t normally take to social media to post or comment on anything, however, I felt like this time, it was important to address a few issues and raise awareness.
“I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I am a Muslim. 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. 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. It shows that you do not possess basic human empathy and kindness and those are the kinds of people who do not deserve to be part of our Australian community.
“This man verbalised his hatred of Muslims prior to hitting me. He decided that he was going to take it in his power to act upon his hatred and he neither knows me, nor my religion. I do not want this attack to happen to anyone ever again. I want to see a world where people defend one another against cowardly acts like this and band together to protect the victims. We cannot allow behaviour like this to become the norm and sit silent.
“I thank the people who stepped in that night in my defence. And to my friends who did not hesitate to step in for me, you are more like sisters to me and I am so grateful for what you both did. You have allowed me to step away from this and go home to my family.
“The overwhelming support I have received is a reflection that this was a story that many can relate to. We are mothers, wives, daughters… and we deserve to feel safe wherever we go. We deserve a night out to unwind without being fearful of an attack like this happening again. I fear for the world our children will grow up in, if this issue is not addressed.
“I call all Australians, Muslim or non-Muslims, of all faiths and cultures to come together, as you have already done for me, and voice your solidarity in protecting innocent people from any future racial/religious attacks.
“I hope the justice system lives up to its name. And I also hope a proactive approach is taken against any potential future offenders.
“I thank Allah (swt) – As salaam, Al aleem, Alhakim.”