The family of a Bangladeshi national remanded in Australian custody on a terrorism-related charge, has expressed shock and bafflement by the arrest of the “brilliant student” who had gone to study in Australia on a scholarship.
Momena Shoma, 24, is accused of stabbing 56-year-old Roger Singaravelu in the neck while he was asleep in their home in Mill Park in Melbourne Friday afternoon.
Police allege Momena was “self-radicalized” and claim she was wearing a burqa during the attack witnessed by the victim’s five-year-old daughter, reports the Australian daily The Age.
Momena has been charged with one count of engaging in a terrorist act.
The Age spoke her family in Bangladesh as they made several attempts to contact her in custody on Sunday.
Momena’s uncle, a senior official at the University of Dhaka, said the family was struggling to come to terms with the news of the arrest and the allegations brought against her.
He said he had spoken to Momena just before she left for Australia, and she had asked him to pray her.
He had also spoken to her in early February when she had told him everything was fine and she was comfortable, which now leads them to question what and where things went wrong.
Victoria Police acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said comments made by Momena Shoma when she was interviewed by police led them to believe the incident was terrorism related.
A Royal Melbourne Hospital spokesperson said the victim was in a stable condition.