A heroic Australian traveler was assaulted after defending three Muslim women who were subject to a vile Islamophobic verbal assault on a packed Melbourne train, Australia.
36 year-old Jason Cias was commuting home on the train on May 15, when he witnessed two men targeting the women who were wearing headscarves.
The train had pulled out of Melbourne Central station about 3.15pm when the unprovoked abuse began after one of the younger women sat next to the tradesmen.
One of them made reference to her headscarf, saying, “You shouldn’t be wearing that shit in Australia’,” Cias said.
Cias said the woman tried to put the men in their place, asking them what their problem was, and it sparked a heated exchange.
He said the older of the women appeared to try to calm the situation in Arabic, which was met with yet another barb from the men.
“The comment was, ‘You shouldn’t be speaking that shit in Australia’,” Cias said.
The women got off the train at North Melbourne and it was when one of the men called after them “I’ll f—ing smash ya” that Cias stepped in.
“I said to the guy, ‘Mate, they’re women’. The implication there was you don’t threaten people, particularly women,” he said.
Cias said he was told to mind his own business before one of the men stood over him and punched him to his left cheek.
“Even though the guy stood up and was acting aggressively, I didn’t expect to get punched. After that I walked towards him and grabbed his collar and held him at arm’s length and told him I would be laying charges,” he said.
The men moved to another carriage when another commuter intervened and separated them. Cias got off the train at Kensington with two witnesses, including Katie Parker, 28, who captured part of the assault on video and rang police.
“It was awful to witness that sort of violence in the middle of the day… Jason just said one sentence calmly and the attacker was really aggressive at the drop of a hat for no logical reason,” Parker said.
Cias, who suffered bruising and swelling but no long-term injuries, said he would change only one thing about what he did.
“I would have liked to have said something earlier. That’s probably my only thing…but I certainly wouldn’t change what I did, I don’t agree with that behaviour,” he said.
“Whether it’s Islamic women or whoever, it’s just not right they can abuse people like that. No one should be doing that to anyone regardless of race or gender or religious creed.”