#illridewithyou, A Message From Austrailians To Muslims Trends On Twitter During Hostage Situation

The hashtag is a move to prevent an anti-Muslim backlash.

Australian commandos have stormed a cafe in Sydney, ending a siege by a gunman who took dozens of people hostage.  The standoff in Sydney lasted more than 16 hours and sent shockwaves through the world. 

Meanwhile, Muslims in Australia braced for a backlash. 

Media outlets, citing police, identified the suspect as Man Haron Monis, 49, an Iranian-born, self-proclaimed Muslim cleric with a lengthy criminal record who is currently free on bail.

"This is a one-off random individual. It's not a concerted terrorism event or act. It's a damaged goods individual who's done something outrageous," his former lawyer said. "His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness."

Rachael Jacobs was riding on a train when a Muslim woman next to her silently removed her hijab. Jacobs chased her down and tweeted that she said "put it back on. I'll walk with u". She reported that the woman started to cry, hugged her for "about a minute" and then walked off alone. She started hashtag #illridewithyou,  and reports say it was tweeted more than 166k times in just eight hours. 

The standoff gripped downtown Sydney, shutting down government offices, public transit and schools as it dragged through the day. The normally busy and crowded business district of the city was on virtual lockdown.



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