A UNIVERSITY student whose attack on a Muslim woman was caught on film and went viral told a court she harangued the victim because she found her face veil scary.
There have been more than 1.6 million views online of a 90-second video which shows Suong Thao Nguyen, 36, banging on a car window and shouting, “Who are you? Take it off, terrorist,” to a woman wearing a niqab who, along with her husband, had locked themselves inside their vehicle.
On Monday the Vietnamese immigrant and mother of two was convicted and sentenced at Burwood Local Court to a two-year Good Behaviour Bond and $750 fine after pleading guilty to intimidating Semaa Abdulwali and her husband Ramzy Alamudi and damaging their car at Macquarie University campus, in Sydney’s north, on January 20, 2017.
The court heard Ms Abdulwali was wearing a headscarf and veil which revealed only her eyes when she and her husband saw Ms Nguyen staring at them.
After Mr Alamudi asked Nguyen, “ is something wrong?” She approached their car and began banging on the windows, shouting at them and scratching the vehicle with her car key.
After sitting in their car for about a minute Mr Alamudi got out, restrained Nguyen and called for help from members of the public. University security was called and Nguyen was later arrested by police.
Nguyen’s lawyer Andrew Tiedt told Magistrate Suzanne Seagrave that there was “no excuse for what happened,” and Nguyen was sorry for putting the couple through what would have been an, “extraordinary unpleasant experience.”
“She was scared, she was afraid of them and completely overreacted,” he said.
The court heard that since the incident Macquarie University had banned her from campus making it difficult for her to complete her studies and that she has had family troubles.
Mr Tiedt said Nguyen also had to deal with the notoriety she had gained from the video with the footage attracting 1.6 million views in four days.
“Ms Nguyen’s life fell apart,” Mr Tiedt said
Magistrate Seagrave said that it was a completely unprovoked attack by Nguyen who reacted with “resentment and anger,” to Ms Abdulwali’s niqab.
“Ms Nguyen was unable or unwilling to control her impulses on this occasion and there was no provocative behaviour whatsoever by either victim that could explain this gross over-reaction.”
Magistrate Seagrave said Nguyen behaviour was “wrong and unacceptable” and that such prejudice had no place in a multicultural society.
She ordered Nguyen be placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and be under the supervision of Community Corrections which will include counselling and anger management. She was also ordered to pay $817.85 in damage to the car.