Australia

International student bashed with knuckle dusters on campus

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A Pakistani student has been viciously attacked by a group who shouted racist abuse at him at the University of Newcastle.

It was meant to be a quiet night studying at the university library, but it turned out to be anything but for Abdullah Qaiser.

While driving through the university campus, the 21-year-old international student's car was stopped by a group of around seven people who set upon him.

Mr Qaiser said a man shouted at him to “f*** off” and to “go back to your f***ing country.”

“'You don't belong here, you are a Muslim’, the usual racial comments,” Mr Qaiser told SBS News.

Mr Qaiser's nose was smashed by a man wearing knuckle dusters and doctors say he will likely need reconstructive surgery.

Abdullah Qaiser after he was attacked on campus.
Abdullah Qaiser after he was attacked on campus.
Supplied

He now says he is too afraid to return to campus.

The University of Newcastle student union said the attack highlights the need for greater investment in security at the university.

“Students are asking for increased security on campus, they want to see greater patrols,” said President of the Student Association, Christy Mullen.

“They [students] want to see greater response times and they want to see security escorting students when they don't feel safe to their cars and their destinations.”

Like many uni campuses, Newcastle University is large with lots of space between campus buildings.

There is minimal lighting to brighten the swathes of trees and bushes that cover the campus.

"I feel safe during the day, but at night not so much,” one female student told SBS News.

“I feel funny calling security because often when you do it’s a long wait and you’re stuck there waiting for a long time,” she said.

Another said even though he works late into the evening, he rarely feels unsafe.

"I'm usually working very late – 2am or 3am on campus – security guys come around and do their checks, so I never feel unsafe on campus."

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Liz Burd said the university has room for improvement.

"We have a rolling program of improvement that we are doing and yes there is absolutely more that can be done."

The attack is not the first for international students visiting Australia.

Several Chinese high school students were attacked last year in Canberra; and after a series of attacks on Indian students, international enrolments from India dropped sharply in Australia.

Despite the brutal assault, Mr Qaiser retains a good outlook on Australia.

"I still have a positive view of Australia I still like Australia, a bunch of people cannot change my views about Australia," he said.

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