Australians are showing their support for the country's Muslim community, which has come under attack after a gunman took several people hostage in a café in Sydney’s Martin Place on Monday, forcing them to display a black Islamic flag. “#illridewithyou,” a hashtag on Twitter aimed at spreading a message of tolerance across the country, has been trending worldwide since Monday afternoon.
The hashtag, termed an anti-Islamophobia hashtag, was created after a veiled woman was abused on public transport during the hostage crisis, local media reports said. People around the world took to social media to display solidarity with Muslims in the country’s largest city. The social media campaign was reportedly aimed at making Muslims in the country comfortable when they got out in public. Rachael Jacobs, a Sydney woman, inspired the campaign after she posted on Facebook about an encounter with a Muslim woman earlier in the day, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Jacobs reportedly saw the Muslim woman remove her “hijab,” a veil that covers the head and chest, on a train.
"I ran after her at the train station. I said 'put it back on. I'll walk with u'. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute - then walked off alone,” Jacobs reportedly wrote in her Facebook post. The post was reportedly circulated by another Sydney woman, who later created the hashtag, which went viral within hours. Twitter users from around the country have offered to ride public transport with Muslims. Several Muslim groups in the country have also condemned the incident and said that their thoughts go out to the hostages.
"We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being or to instill fear and terror into their hearts," Muslim officials said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse. "Any such despicable act only serves to play into the agendas of those who seek to destroy the goodwill of the people of Australia and to further damage and ridicule the religion of Islam and Australian Muslims throughout this country."
Here's a look at some posts from Twitter, announcing support for Muslims in the country.
If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.
— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014
— Sharna Bremner (@sharnatweets) December 15, 2014
Heartened to see people respond to today's events with solidarity #illridewithyou - let's not allow fear, hatred and division to triumph
— Tim Soutphommasane (@timsout) December 15, 2014
— Penny Sharpe (@PennySharpemlc) December 15, 2014
Thanx to All the Australian People who are showing their support for Muslim community. #illridewithyou
— Muhammad Shehroz (@shoxee56) December 15, 2014
— Andrew Ong (@andrew_otk) December 15, 2014
Let's not be clicktivists only but #illridewithyou activists....this may well be our finest communitarian hour.
— FatherBob (@FatherBob) December 15, 2014