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Derek Midgley Australia train platform
Flinders Street platform in Melbourne, AustraliaDerek Midgley via Flickr

Sydney terrorist siege births anti-racist Twitter movement

#illridewithyou calls for Australians to show solidarity with Aussie Muslims

UPDATE: Police say that the siege situation is now over.

The ongoing hostage situation in Sydney has meant that the Australian city has gone into lockdown. An armed gunman, named by the Guardian as a Muslim cleric called Man Haron Monis, is engaged in a stand-off with police after taking around 30 hostages in a Lindt cafe in Martin's Place, a shopping district. Witnesses reported seeing a black flag with Arabic writing in the window, prompting rumours that ISIS is behind the act. 

Understandably, Sydney locals have been too afraid to travel by public transport. The radio station 702 ABC Sydney has fielded many calls from Muslim listeners – espeicially from women who wear the hijab – who say they are too scared to ride public transport for fear of a backlash from white Australians.

Now a Twitter campaign called #illridewithyou aims to give Muslim passengers support as they travel through the city.

It all started when this Facebook post from Rachael Jacobs went viral: 

TV editor and writer Tessa Kum (@sirtessa) then started the hashtag #illridewithyou. Kum encouraged any Muslim women wearing religious attire on her bus route who felt unsafe to get in touch with her:

Thousands all over the country quickly picked up on #illridewithyou, with the hashtag trending alongside #sydneysiege in Australia – a ray of light emerging from a bleak situation in the centre of Sydney.