Nice job , Australia.
In the aftermath of the downtown Sydney hostage crisis, Australians are showing the world how to respond to a potential racial fallout with a simple hashtag, #IllRideWithYou. Thousands of messages of support have been posted online for Muslims in Australia who are afraid of an Islamophobic backlash.
Hate crimes against Muslims often spike when terrorist incidents involving Muslims occur, but thousands of social media users in Australia are showing the world they are not caving to Islamophobia or racism.
Following the hostage crisis, where the gunman displayed an Islamic flag in the café’s window, it was reported that many Australian Muslims were anxious about retribution.
But rather than spreading hateful messages across social media networks, thousands of Australians have come together on Twitter with the #IllRideWithYou hashtag to offer support to Australian Muslims who are afraid they may be attacked on public transportation.
A post on Facebook by Rachael Jacobs said she'd seen a woman she presumed was Muslim silently removing her hijab while sitting next to her on the train. "I ran after her at the train station. I said 'put it back on. I'll walk with u'. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute - then walked off alone'.
Twitter user Tessa Kum (@sirtessa) the began the Twitter movement by offering to sit next to members of the Islamic faith on public transport if they were frightened to be seen in public wearing religious clothing.
The hashtag movement is powerful sign that shows Muslims they're safe in their home and shouldn't fear retaliation for an incident by a single madman that has nothing to do with them, in the same way white Australians aren’t connected to the actions of the many, many white Australian killers across the country.
The campaign has snowballed quickly, with more than 150,000 tweets with the hashtag in just 12 hours.
Thousands of people have now joined the spontaneous campaign, offering to meet Muslim people at their local stations and to ride with them on their journey. There were 40,000 tweets using the hashtag #Illridewithyou in just two hours, according to Twitter Australia; 150,000 in four hours.
Trends like this one show how powerful social networks can be, with people all over the world jumping on board the movement in an effort to turn the devastating events of Monday into something positive.