“This is my Australia. Being a Muslim, this hashtag is the best thing (that) happened today. I love you Australia. #illridewithyou,” posted Twitter user, @Atozai (aka, Arif).
The social media hashtag #illridewithyou has gone viral following the ongoing hostage siege in Sydney’s central business district.
The siege was marked by footage of hostages apparently being made to hold a black flag, featuring a white Islamic inscription, up to the window of the café where they were being held by a gunman.
Islamic Australians expressed fears of a racially motivated public backlash against their fellow Muslims, but social media users were quick to come out in their support with a wave of tweets.
The Twitter hashtag #illridewithyou was apparently instigated by user @SirTessa who offered to accompany a Muslim commuter on the number 373 bus from Coogee to Martin Place.
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
Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou? — Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014
The tag was quickly copied by fellow users and trended through the Twittersphere around Australia and the world, with many Aussies saying the anti-bigotry response has made them proud.
So much love and compassion seen from the community. This makes my heart soar. Proud to be an Aussie. #IllRideWithYou pic.twitter.com/fNVchI0DGv
— Bella Nguyen (@Bella_Carter1) December 15, 2014
This is my Australia. Being a Muslim this hashtag is the best thing happened today. I Love You Australia. #illridewithyou — Arif (@Atozai) December 15, 2014
Loving how the world is fighting terrorism & extremism through love. #illridewithyou — Sarah #Libya (@SarahFighi) December 15, 2014
Reading this post makes me cry.. I know that there are a lot more good people than lunatic ones. #illridewithyou pic.twitter.com/1CRskLgYXd
— ienas Tsuroiya (@tsuroiya) December 15, 2014
#IllRideWithYou: Sydney Stands Up To Racism And Bigotry With One Beautiful Hashtag pic.twitter.com/Exn8kz7Sml
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) December 15, 2014
I’ll be driving to Sydney airport at 5:30am tomorrow to do drop off. Happy to drop any incoming afraid passengers home. #illridewithyou — …. (@laurenaustin_) December 15, 2014
im not an aussie but i seriously have so much respect for you guys! #illridewithyou this is the real Islam pic.twitter.com/OQ0L5biSbA
— saja (@icupcakestyles) December 15, 2014
#IllRideWithYou shows support for Australian Muslims as #SydneySiege drags on pic.twitter.com/0YTlPrY8mh
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 15, 2014
Terrorism seeks to force action out of fear and hate–not reason or justice. #Australia teaching world about strength today #illridewithyou
— Nathan Martin (@nathanmart) December 15, 2014
By midnight on Monday, the #illridewithyou hashtag had been used over 100,000 times on Twitter.