An Australian man wearing a crucifix and his girlfriend were attacked by a Muslim gang on a Sidney train on April 4 who yelled, ‘F*** Jesus!” and praised “Allah” as transit police witnessed the attack but did not intervene, according to an April 8 report in the Daily Telegraph.
The thirty-year-old Greek-Orthodox man who was attacked is only identified as “Mike”. Mike told Miranda Devine with the Telegraph he was riding the train from Campsie to Bankstown with his girlfriend when they were attacked by the Muslim gang of men and women.
Crucifix worn by alleged victim of Muslim gang violence, “Mike”, that was torn from chain around his neck and stomped on as attackers yelled, “F*** Jesus!, image via Mike/Daily Telegraph.
One Greek community leader, Rev George Capsis, has gone so far as to warn Christians not to wear overt religious symbols when they are travelling though Muslim enclaves of southwestern Sydney.
But last Tuesday afternoon, 30-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian, Mike, discovered too late the risks of wearing a large cross outside his clothing while travelling on the train from Campsie to Bankstown with his girlfriend.
He says he was minding his own business talking on his mobile phone, when four young men of Middle Eastern appearance allegedly violently ripped the crucifix off his neck, and stomped on it while swearing “F*** Jesus” and referring to “Allah”.
He says they punched him and kicked him in his face, back and shoulders during the attack which began about 3pm, just after the train left Belmore station.
When his girlfriend tried to defend him, two Arabic-speaking women also allegedly hit and kicked her.
The crucifix, which his mother had given him, was bent, and the silver chain broken in two places.
“I was born in Australia of Greek heritage,” says Mike. “I’ve always worn my cross. For him to rip it off and step on it has to be a religious crime… It’s not on to feel unsafe in your own country.”
Mike has a doctor’s report cataloguing his injuries, which include abrasions and bruises on his face, left shoulder, and upper and lower back.
He claims that five uniformed railway “Transport Officers” watched the attack and did nothing to help him, although police were waiting for the train when it reached Bankstown station.
Two police officers took the names of three alleged assailants and a statement from Mike, photographed his injuries, told him they would review CCTV footage from the train and that he should expect a letter in a month, which may require his attendance at court…
…After our media inquiries, police contacted Mike and reinterviewed him yesterday.
A spokeswoman confirmed that detectives from Bankstown Local Area Command are investigating “reports of alleged religiously-motivated abuse on a Sydney train this week”.
“The incident has prompted police to remind the community that any bias-motivated crime will not be tolerated.”
Sydney Trains yesterday defended the inaction of its Transport Officers, with a spokesman saying they are not authorised to intervene in assaults and their primary responsibilities are customer service and fare evasion.
If an incident takes place, such as the attack on Mike, they are trained to stand back in a “safe space” to observe, and contact police, if necessary.
He confirmed that Transport Officers conducting operations on a train between Campsie and Bankstown stations on April 4 “requested Police assistance in response to a physical altercation between two groups of people”.
Mike told Daily Mail Australia he feared for his life during the attack.
‘I have a child. I was thinking about her when I was getting attacked,’ Mike said.
I thought I was going to die. The next victim might not be so lucky, they might be killed or seriously injured.’
Mike, who suffers from depression as a result of a previous work injury, said he was now too traumatised to wear a crucifix in public or ride on a train.
‘I’m too traumatised now, actually. Too many people are too scared to do anything about it,’ he said.
‘It’s not just an attack on me, it’s an attack on what I believe in and every Christian out there is getting attacked as well.’