“She was pushing the knife into my neck and screaming “Alluha Akbar,” says victim of ISIS-inspired terror attack as relived the terrifying moment that still gives his 5-year-old daughter nightmares.
News.au Days before Momena Shoma allegedly carried out a stabbing attack on a Melbourne homeowner in the name of Islamic State, the 24-year-old “practiced” by stabbing a mattress multiple times at the home of the first Australian host family with whom she was placed. That family felt intimidated enough that they returned her to the Australian Homestay Network, saying, ‘We’re scared, we don’t want her to continue living with us,’” he told the court.
Ms Shoma, who arrived in Melbourne from Bangladesh in January this year, has been charged with engaging in a terrorist act. She is accused of entering the bedroom of Roger Singaravelu, 56, on February 9 wearing a burqa and carrying a knife.
The Joint Counter-Terrorism Taskforce will allege Mr Singaravelu was sleeping when Ms Shoma stabbed him in the neck in front of his five-year-old daughter, Shayla. She reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar.” While Shayla sustained no physical injuries during the attack her father said she has vivid nightmares and still sees blood on the walls of their home. The Bangladeshi student wore a full burqa with only mesh to cover her eyes and refused to take it off.
Ms Shoma appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday via video link. She wore a bright blue hijab and said very little as her lawyer argued for an adjournment to look over 1600 pages of evidence.
The court heard the Latrobe University student, described as “brilliant” by her family in Bangladesh, had been staying with Mr Singaravelu for two days after it was arranged through the Australian Homestay Network.
Mr Rozencwajg said Ms Shoma was “responding to a call by [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] to attack” Australians on their own soil. It’s alleged she made full admissions to police after the stabbing and said she was ‘acting on behalf of the Caliphate’.
The Australian Homestay Network told news.com.au they have been assisting police in the matter but would not comment on whether hosts raised concerns about Ms Shoma’s behaviour before she began staying with Mr Singaravelu.
In a statement released in January, the network’s CEO Julie Manche said she was “shocked by what happened in Mill Park”. “Our attention at this stage is focused on Mr Singaravelu and his family being able to recover and heal after Friday’s events.”
The Australian Homestay Network has placed more than 40,000 students in homes in Australia and says “an event like this has never occurred”.