A Bangladeshi student accused of stabbing her Melbourne homestay host in an act of Islamic State terrorism allegedly practised on a mattress.
Momena Shoma, 24, appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link on Wednesday, charged with engaging in a terrorist act, after she allegedly stabbed her homestay host at Mill Park on February 9.
“She (allegedly) did the practice run on the mattress with the first family that hosted her and they felt intimidated enough to go to whoever organised it … to say ‘We’re scared, we don’t want her to continue living with us’,” magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg said.
The radicalised student is accused of stabbing her sleeping 56-year-old host in the neck and shoulder.
Her lawyer says it is unclear whether Shoma’s alleged crime constitutes terrorism.
“I’m talking about whether the action of stabbing was done with the intention of intimidating the government or a section of the public,” Guillaume Ballin said.
The defence says the police brief of evidence contains 1600 pages, including some 400 encrypted messages.
It’s alleged Ms Shoma made full admissions to police after the stabbing and said she was “acting on behalf of the Caliphate”.
“It’s more than political or religious ideology to make out the terrorist act charge,” Mr Ballin said.
“The issue here is whether the act done, or alleged to be done by Shoma, is done with the intention of coercing or intimidating the government or intimidating the public or section of the public.”
Mr Rozencwajg said the student had allegedly discussed the reasons behind the attack.
It’s also alleged the Bangladeshi student discussed her radicalisation during a police interview and spoke of her motivations immediately after the stabbing.
“Doesn’t she say that she’s responding to a call by (IS leader) Baghdadi to attack the Americans and the British and Australians – in particular the ‘horrible French people’?” Mr Rozencwajg said.
The magistrate queried why the terror group had singled out the French and a federal prosecutor said it was probably because France had a large Muslim community.
Shoma will face a pre-trial committal hearing on August 1 to determine if she stands trial.