“I Said to the Guy, ‘Mate, They’re Women.’ The Implication There was You Don’t Threaten People, Particularly Women”

On 15 May 2015 while on a train in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Jason Cias, age 36, saw two men vilifying three women who were wearing headscarves of the type that Muslim women wear. Mr. Cias said, “One of [the men] made reference to [one of the younger women’s] headscarf, saying ‘You shouldn’t be wearing that shit in Australia.’” The older woman began speaking in Arabic, and one of the men responded. Mr. Cias remembered, “The comment was, ‘You shouldn’t be speaking that sh[*]t in Australia.’” When the three women got off the train, one of the men shouted at them, ‘I’ll f[**]king smash ya.” Mr. Cias remembered, “I said to the guy, ‘Mate, they’re women.’ The implication there was you don’t threaten people, particularly women.” Unfortunately, one of the men punched him. Mr. Cias said, “Even though the guy stood up and was acting aggressively, I didn’t expect to get punched. After that I walked towards him and grabbed his collar and held him at arm’s length and told him I would be laying charges.” Another commuter separated Mr. Cias and the two men. Katie Parker, age 28, was a witness to the altercation and recorded some of it on video. She said, “It was awful to witness that sort of violence in the middle of the day … Jason [Cias] just said one sentence calmly and he [the attacker] was really aggressive at the drop of a hat for no logical reason.” Another witness also provided evidence to the police. Mr. Cias said, “I would have liked to have said something earlier. That’s probably my only thing … but I certainly wouldn’t change what I did. I don’t agree with that behavior. Whether it’s Islamic women or whoever, it’s just not right [other people] can abuse people like that. No one should be doing that to anyone regardless of race or gender or religious creed.” In July 2015, police made an arrest in the case. Mr. Cias said, “I was really pleased; it gives you a bit more faith in the system.”

For Further Information: Tammy Mills, “Good Samaritan assaulted after standing up for Muslim women who were abused on Melbourne train.” The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 26 May 2015 <http://tinyurl.com/nu3s8dw>. Also: Tammy Mills, “Man arrested over assault of good Samaritan who defended Muslim women on train.” The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 24 July 2015 <http://tinyurl.com/nkcbb9j>.

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