Elham Asaad Buaras
A middle aged Muslim woman was left with a broken arm in an unprovoked Islamophobic assault in Melbourne last month. The latest incident is one of many Islamophobic attacks sweeping Australia following anti-terror raids involving more than 800 police officers.
The 48-year-old woman, who was wearing a hijab [headscarf] had been shopping at Lalor shopping Plaza when she was attacked. The woman’s daughter, Abrar Ahmed, saw the incident unfold from her car.
“A man approached my mum and said, ‘You Muslims, go back to where you came from’,” Ahmed said.
“As my mum turned around to see who was yelling at her in such a disgusting way, she saw this really big guy. He pushed her on the ground. She landed in the middle of the road. When she fell on the ground she broke her arm. She heard her bone crack.”
Ahmed said Islamophobic attacks on Muslim women are on the rise in Australia. “A lot of other Muslim women, they have been going through worse assaults, they are being attacked in very different ways and they don’t have the courage to speak out.”
Federal member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, said the current political climate is contributing to an increase of attacks on Muslim women.
“It can divide our community and some people end up on the receiving end of abuse. In this case, Muslim Australians – and especially women – tell me they are being harassed and assaulted,” he said.
Brunswick police Acting Senior Sergeant Ben Davies said police take all reports of Islamophobic attacks seriously. “I think sometimes people have a fear of reporting or think there is no point in reporting, so we are engaging with the community to encourage them.”
The Australian Muslim Women’s Association (AMWA) say the Government’s “draconian” policies is helping fester division.
“The Prime Minister’s constant reassurance that he is not targeting the Muslim community and that we need to work as part of team are completely opposite to his statements that divide the community between those who are on ‘the team’ and those who ‘the community’ needs to take responsibility for,” said AMWA’s Silma Ihram.
She told The Muslim News Tony Abbott is “conducting his own ‘shock and awe’ with a massive media presence when he sent in 800 heavily armed police to knock down the doors of 12 homes in two states, which only resulted in 2 arrests.”
She added; “This was a clear message to the Muslim community that any sign of disagreement or threat would result in serious measures. His latest anti-terror laws include draconian provisions against the press with 10 years jail for reporting any aspect of special operations, the right not only to gather meta data in mass surveillance, but to edit it (why?!?) with 73 passports already cancelled.”
AMWA say numerous community requests to the Government for dialogue about foreign policies and engagement with Australian Muslims “and numerous other requests are generally ignored.
Young Muslim men are feeling increasingly disillusioned and unhappy.
Even senior and conservative members of the Muslim community, including myself have been expressing frustration at the actions of the Government, their lack of response and their incredibly paternalistic short term, knee jerk reaction to these events.”