Melbourne CBD – In a thoughtless crime, a 21 year old Muslim girl was struck in the head and tripped over before her hijab was removed and punched for a second time. But thanks to some bystanders, in particular 16 year old Muhammad, who declined to give his last name to The Guardian, screamed at the perpertrator to “back off.”
“It was a brutal punch. Once that happened he tripped her and she fell right to the ground,” he said. “I got up and screamed at him and he backed off. People came to aid the girl and call the ambulance.”
A screengrab provided by Victoria police of the man who allegedly assaulted a 21-year-old Muslim woman outside of the State library. Photograph: Victoria Police
Muhammad and a group of friends followed the attacker until he took a knife out, after they accused him of a racial attack, at which he responded “not racist.”
Acting sergeant Shaun Toohey has released a statement suggesting that the Victorian Police had no information as to what motivated the attack as nothing was said to the victim. “The victim was “surprised” when she read reports in the media that the attack was racially motivated,” Toohey said.
Details released on Friday described the attacker as Caucasian, slim build, 183cm tall and approximately 45 years old. He has short light-coloured hair, a beard, and a tattoo on his upper right arm. Police say the attacker was shirtless at the time of the attack.
In May, another attack occurred against a train commuter when he defended three Muslims for being racially abused.
The attacks come at a time when the Australian Grand Mufti has been criticized for his lack of condemnation of ISIS; and when Anti-Muslim protestors clashed in normally quiet regional Bendigo over plans to build a mosque.
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