Australians Offer to Ride by Muslims’ Side Amidst Fears of Retaliation for Hostage Situation

Yesterday, Man Haron Monis, a self-described extremist Muslim cleric, entered a Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney, Australia and took all of the store’s occupants hostage. The siege ended just a few hours ago after police stormed the cafe.

As news spread that the hostage-taker was a Muslim, a coalition of Australian Muslim groups released a statement condemning the man’s actions.

“We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instil fear and terror into their hearts,”

the statement said.

One of two women who fled the cafe in the middle of the siege runs into the arms of an awaiting policeman (Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

One of two women who fled the cafe in the middle of the siege runs into the arms of an awaiting policeman (Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

However, many Australian Muslims still worried that they might be targeted by people looking to retaliate for the hostage situation.

Then, late last night, something truly awesome happened: tens of thousands of Australians took to social media offering to accompany Muslims on their way to work to if they don’t feel safe.

The hashtag #illridewithyou quickly started to trend, with Australians letting people know what buses and trains they’d be riding and then offering to accompany any Muslims who would also be on those routes. Some people even offered lifts in their personal cars.

The hashtag represents a beautiful outpouring of tolerance and unity in response to a heinous act designed to cause division and animosity. Way to go Australia!

https://twitter.com/slightlysammi/status/544415447894867968

In another attempt to ease tensions and increase unity, a group of Muslim youth spent most of yesterday passing out flowers and bottles of water to Sydney residents.

Read the original story from The Australian. Get live updates on the hostage crisis from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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