On Wednesday 20 November Rana Elasmar experienced every Muslim woman’s worst nightmare when a man began hurling Islamophobic verbal abuse as she sat with her friends at a cafe. He then physically assaulted Rana Elasmar in a vile and cowardly attack.
By the grace of Allah, she survived the attack which involved the attacker punching her and stomping on her head as she tried to protect her unborn child.
The people who intervened each deserve to be honoured with a bravery Medal for their courage and for demonstrating first hand the difference bystander intervention can make. It’s quite literally life saving.
There are no shortage of bearded Muslim men in Parramatta. It’s one of the most densely Muslim populated suburbs in all of NSW.
This man deliberately sought a vulnerable, heavily pregnant Muslim woman to unleash his Islamophobic tirade before overpowering, attacking and assaulting her.
Rana Elasmar could’ve been any Muslim woman. Her attacker knew nothing about her and he clearly knew very little about her religion.
A great resource available to councils for implementing grassroots strategies, particularly in regions where Islamophobic attacks against women are more prevalent, is the Counter Islamophobia Kit. This is highly effective tool which addressed the underlying causes of Islamophobia. (1)
This week Senator Sarah Hanson Young won a defamation case against former Liberal democrat David Leyonhjelm. The comments made against Senator Hanson Young are too vile to repeat here however Senator Hanson Young’s comments after winning the defamation case struck a nerve;
“I want to make sure every woman knows, every girl knows that you have a right to be treated with respect. And that’s why I’ve taken this action… You talk about the personal aspect of this. This was really for my daughter” (2)
This is a comment that every woman, every mother, indeed every parent can relate to. The needs to build a safer world for our children and to want to protect them is a primal human instinct.
Similarly, Rana Elasmar deserves to be compensated heavily for the unprecedented, unprovoked racist attack she endured to prove to Muslim girls everywhere that Islamophobia is not OK and that you have a right to practice your belief openly without fear of being assaulted in a public space while having coffee!
When humanity stands together alongside those who are oppressed, whoever they may be, and stands against the oppressor, whomever they may be, can we then truly be an inclusive society.
We pray for the safe arrival of sister Rana Elasmar’s baby and for Al-Muhaymin to keep them both safe from harm.