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Since the distressing and ultimately deadly siege of an Australian cafe over the weekend, a hashtag has aimed to counter potential anti-Muslim backlash in the region by offering support and solidarity with Muslim Australians: #IllRideWithYou.

The Atlantic reports that behind the heartwarming reponse lies very real fear, quoting a tweet from an ultra-right wing group calling on “all Australians” to converge on a largely Muslim suburb of Sydney if anyone in the hostage situation was harmed. Since the hashtag went viral Monday, the BBC reports a backlash, focusing on acts of terrorism, under the hashtag #IWontRideWithYou.

It is not clear whether Man Haron Monis, the man at the center of the siege, is to be considered a jihadist or something other; the Guardian reports under the headline, “Sydney siege: don’t call Man Haron Monis a ‘terrorist’ – it only helps Isis,” that

While it would be very easy to fall back on an analysis of this tragic incident as a case of homegrown terrorism, we should take the lead of the New South Wales police. Throughout the siege they referred to Monis as a “lone gunman”, refusing to use the word terrorist.
By acknowledging Monis as a terrorist and as an actor for Isis, we give him exactly what he wanted: recognition, renown and the attention of the world media. We also feed into any possible claims by Isis that this attack is a demonstration of their ability to cause terror in Australia.

A coalition of fifty Muslim groups in Sydney released a joint statement (obtained via ThinkProgress) condemning the hostage-taking, the “ISIS flag” displayed at the scene, and

any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instill fear and terror into their hearts,

while Christians, Jews and Muslims gathered in prayer at a mosque in the very suburb threatened by the extremists in the tweet above.


Posted by Rosalind Hughes


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