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Sydney commuter probed about terrorism by fellow passenger

27th May 2016

Mini Elali, 27 was waiting for a train at Lidcombe station in Sydney when a fellow passanger asked her “How are the terrorists going?” (Photo: Mini Elali / Twitter)

Nadine Osman

An Australian Muslim woman has spoken out after she was allegedly the victim of a fellow commuters unprovoked Islamophobic questioning on March 24.

Mini Elali, 27, was standing at Lidcombe train station platform in Sydney’s west with a headscarf on when a man wearing a bright yellow work shirt stopped directly in front of her.

After a moment of uncomfortable staring, the man asked her: “How are the terrorists going?”
“How would I know?” Elali replied, taken aback.

The man repeated the same question, before continuing to stare at her with an angered face.

“He looked angry and I was going to just walk away. But I was attacked in 2011 in (nearby) Burwood and I didn’t have a photo of my attacker for police, so I made sure to get a photo this time.”

Elali, who lives in the Lidcombe-Auburn area, has worn a headscarf for seven years. She says it’s insulting to be asked to condemn terrorists because she considers that an attack on her humanity.

“It made me feel upset; he insinuated I was a terrorist. And I find that offensive … I’m sick of being asked continuously to condemn Daesh and other similar groups. Of course I condemn them.”

Elali took a photo of the man and then walked to the opposite end of the platform. She says a schoolgirl raced after her to apologise for the man’s words.

“There was a little schoolgirl that was standing right in front him while he asked me the question, her mouth was like hanging open. She was in shock,” said Elali.

“She chased after me and said, ‘I’m so sorry you had to go through that’.”

Several hours later Elali headed down to Auburn Police Station to ensure the incident was on record.

“Police officer told me: “This man has not committed an offence, it is perhaps borderline bullying,” she tweeted after leaving the station.

Elali said that hijab wearing Muslim women were easy targets.

“I know lots of Muslim women who wear the headscarf, and they are the ones who are insulted and harassed and spat at on a day to day basis,” she said.

“I don’t know any Muslim woman who wears the headscarf who has not had something happen to her. This is the inherent nature of these bigots, They’re also sexist and have misogynist tendencies. They prey on women because they consider that they’re weak and easier targets.”

Auburn Police confirmed that a report was made regarding an incident at Lidcombe railway station. “The woman had provided a photograph that would be distributed to police.”

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