Nov 23, 2019 10:22 UTC

A pregnant Muslim woman who was targeted in a vicious attack while sitting in a cafe in Sydney says she fears for the world children will grow up in if racism is not addressed.

Rana Elasmar, a 31-year-old woman 38 weeks pregnant, was with her friends at a cafe in Parramatta on Wednesday night when a man approached her table.

CCTV footage showed the man having a brief conversation with the group before he began punching the victim several times and stomping on her head when she eventually fell to the floor. 

Police have arrested 43-year-old Stipe Lozina and charged him with affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

After Elasmar was released from Westmead Hospital, where she was taken for observation and assessment of her unborn child, she posted a message on Facebook saying the incident wasn't the first time she had experienced racism, but was still shocked her attacker could be so cruel.

She noted that members of the Muslim community were familiar with being on the receiving end of Islamophobia.

"I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I am a Muslim," Elasmar said.

"I have experienced occurrences of verbal abuse and hate from other Australians in the past, but I have never thought that physical abuse of this nature could happen to me," she said.

Elasmar hoped the justice system lives up to its name. 

“I fear for the world our children will grow up in if this is not addressed. I call all Australians, Muslim and non-Muslim, to stand together in protecting innocent people from any racial or religious attacks.”

The assault occurred in the same week a study was released in Australia, showing women wearing headscarves were at the most risk of Islamophobic attacks.

Lozina appeared without legal representation at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday as he applied unsuccessfully for bail. He will remain behind bars until at least next month.

The accused asked for the case to be rescheduled to a date when he had another matter due to be heard in court.

Lozina was refused bail and will next appear in court on December 5.

MG

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