Muslim Community Devastated by Sydney Siege
16 December 2014 at 10:53 am
More than forty Australian Muslim Community groups have condemned the Sydney CBD siege, saying it is "denounced in Islam".
Australia's top Muslim cleric Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, the country's Grand Mufti, released a statement saying the Muslim community was "devastated" by the events in the Lindt chocolate cafe in Martin Place in which three people including the gunman were killed overnight.
"The Grand Mufti and the Australian National Imams Council condemn this criminal act unequivocally and reiterate that such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam,” Prof Mohamed said.
"We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instill fear and terror into their hearts," the statement said. "This is a time for all Australians to stand together and support each other."
Prof Mohamed also offered his and the Muslim community's full solidarity and support for the victims of the siege and their loved ones.
The siege was brought to a dramatic conclusion in the early hours of this morning when heavily armed police stormed the cafe.
Killed were two hostages, 38 year old mother of three, NSW Barrister Katrina Dawson, and 34 year old Cafe Manager Tori Johnson and the hostage taker – 50-year-old self-described Muslim cleric who was on bail on a number of serious charges, including accessory to murder and sexual assault.
Writing for The Conversation Lecturer in Social Policy at University of Birmingham, Chris Allen wrote that against a backdrop of fear and uncertainty following the hostage taking in Sydney, thousands of ordinary Australians turned to social media to spread a message of unprecedented tolerance and solidarity.
“Trending worldwide, the #illridewithyou hashtag was a response to a number of Muslim listeners who called Australian radio stations to say they were scared to travel in public as the siege unfolded.
“Users offered to ride on public transport with anyone feeling intimidated. They posted their travel plans and invited others to get in touch if they were going the same way and wanted a companion,” he said.
ABC news reported that the hashtag appeared to have come from a Facebook post from a woman who was riding on a train, and noticed a Muslim woman quietly take off her head covering.
In her post she said: "I ran after her at the train station. I said 'put it back on. I'll walk with u."
Another woman took to Twitter and wrote: "If you reg take the bus b/w Coogee/Martin PL, wear religious attire, & don't feel safe alone: I'll ride withyou. @me for schedule."
Human Rights advocate Julian Burnside tweeted “Australians offer to go with Muslim Australians in public places if they fear racist backlash #illridewithyou So much better than bigotry.”