Muslim schoolchildren were targeted in an early-morning attack in Brisbane’s south on Wednesday, when a bag featuring a swastika and containing a severed pig’s head was left at a school’s front gate.
Islamic College of Brisbane staff removed the bag before students arrived at the school in outer suburb Karawatha, acting school chairman Ali Kadri said, but staff and students had been left shaken.
“They’re worried because, while it’s a minor thing, there are really young kids who go to that school, because it goes from Prep to year 12,” he said.
“It’s about the safety of the kids. If somebody’s going to do this, given the climate, anything else could happen as well.
“So it’s really scary.”
Prominent identity Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a former student of the school, took to Twitter to speak of her disgust at the attack on the college in which she spent her primary education.
“How is a parent supposed to explain to a kid why people hate them?” she said.
“I’m just so sorry. I’m so so sorry we have to live in a world where kids can’t go to school in Australia without being shamed and threatened.”
Mr Kadri said some young males in a Subaru WRX were caught on school cameras and that footage, which included a partial numberplate, had been passed on to police.
“The camera footage is quite clear,” he said.
“(Police are) finding evidence and I’m sure there’ll be arrests out of this.”
Students had been informed of the attack, Mr Kadri said, and counselling had been made available.
“Luckily, the staff were out before school and they were able to clear it and they were able to get the kids in without distress,” he said.
Mr Kadri said the police response had been “phenomenal” and he had no doubt what had led to what he described as a “hate crime” against Muslims.
“Right wing extremists, including some politicians and shock jocks who demonise Islamic schools, are responsible for this,” he said.
It was the first time the Islamic College of Brisbane had been targeted in such a matter, Mr Kadri said, although there had been a similar incident at the Holland Park Mosque.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman confirmed an investigation was underway.
“A call was received from an educational facility on Acacia Road, Karawatha, shortly before 9am this morning, about a backpack containing decaying meat,” he said.
The spokesman said police were keen to speak to any witnesses.