Despite pleas for calm from the Queensland Premier and senior police, Muslims – particularly women – have been targeted in a series of hate attacks.
The Sunday Mail can reveal Muslim women are being singled out, including one victim who had coffee thrown in her face while she was stopped at traffic lights south of Brisbane. The woman said a man in a car pulled up beside her and callously doused her in coffee before driving off along Beenleigh Rd. “I was terrified,” she said. “I feel unsafe. I feel like a stranger in my own country.”
Other Muslim women have been abused and threatened, with one told to take off her headscarf – or hijab – at West End by a man who wanted to burn it. The women did not want to be identified, and all believe they are “collateral damage” from recent police anti-terrorism raids which have fuelled fear and suspicion across the nation.
Sarah, 30, said she’d been waiting outside a shop in Logan Rd at Underwood with a 12-year-old girl when insults were hurled at her by a man riding past on a pushbike. “He yelled f— jihad, f— off, go back home you c— and continued to verbally abuse us,” she said. In the next 20 minutes she was abused twice by other men. “It’s quite frightening to hear such vile language and hatred. I was fearful,” she said.
Stacey, 27, said she had copped offensive insults online. “I’m a seventh generation Australian,” she said. “My family are as Australian as you can get and I’m scared.”
Brisbane Muslim community leader Ali Kadri said: “We need to ensure that these acts stop immediately. This is how extremism starts. It starts in the mind, it comes out the mouth and ends up in violence … we must all sit down and come up with some solutions.”
The Brisbane attacks come after a Mareeba mosque had the word “Evil” painted on it and the Logan and Holland Park mosques were targeted in anti-Islamic incidents.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart urged victims to come forward. “We need all parts of the community to work with us particularly those who are singled out and targeted and reinforce to them that police are there for them as well,” Mr Stewart said.
On Thursday night – just hours after homes were raided by police – Mr Stewart, Police Minister Jack Dempsey and Multicultural Affairs Minister Glen Elmes held talks with Brisbane’s Muslim community representatives to address their concerns about their safety and welfare.