#IllRideWithYou: Sydney Stands Up To Racism And Bigotry With One Beautiful Hashtag

Sydney was thrown into disarray yesterday, after an armed siege in the the busiest part of the city. It's over now, but the tragic hostage drama has sparked anti-Muslim sentiment across the city, following reports that the incident may be politically motivated.

In a move that has completely floored me, Sydney's and Australia's social media users have united under one hashtag banner, pledging their solidarity with those who fear racially motivated and bigoted reprisals on public transport. This is #IllRideWithYou, and it's beautiful.

It started last night with a simple tweet from Michael James, surrounding an incident involving two women on Sydney's public transport network.

From there, @sirtessa decided to put her hand up, and offer to take a ride with anyone on public transport who was uncomfortable or expecting a bigoted response following today's siege.

Within two hours, tens of thousands of people have since put their hand up to ride with those who may be frightened to just catch the bus, train or ferry to work or school, in what is probably the most moving thing I've seen all day.

If you see racism or bigotry, speak up. We don't stand for that here.

Keep being excellent to each other, Australia.

Train image via Shutterstock



    Hi everyone, this is just a reminder to please be civil and moderate in your discussion tonight. Anti-religious, racist or distasteful comments will be removed -- and if you see something that you believe is offensive, please report it using the flag button.

      I'm curious how you can justify this after actual deaths, while attacking the whole of gamergate for the actions of people who haven't murdered anyone. Especially when anti gamergaters have done worse than gamergate, having actually driven women out of their jobs.

        Because if there's one thing that will make this a civil and polite discussion, it's randomly bringing up gamergate.

    Restored my faith in Australians.

      where had your faith gone? I havent heard or seen anything racist regarding the Martin Place incident, nor thought that the general mood in Australia regarding ISIS/middle east happenings etc has been bad.

      I think we are a pretty special bunch of people and my faith in us all never wavered.

        The fact that anyone believed that the whole siege thing had anything to do with terrorism in the first place, the way the press carried on, the way the authorities responded etc. That's all part of the problem.
        Without an undercurrent of racism and stupid unquestioning belief in the evils of Islam that whole event wouldn't have been blown so massively out of context.

          Are you claiming this had nothing to do with terrorism? I think if you looked up the definition, this scenario would be pretty close. This extremist acted in the name of Islam (his own twisted interpretation), I think the way the police and media reacted was pretty justified. This has been a pretty intense thing for Australia I think, we don't go through as much of this kind of thing as the yanks.

            It was a dumb little siege. You could as easily class any of the hundreds of domestic sieges the same way. Calling it terrorism is idiotic.
            Look at what countries with real terrorism go through. :/

              A dumb little siege? The man took 17 people hostage in the busiest street in downtown Sydney, across the road from channel 7. He requested a live broadcast with the prime minister while also requesting an IS flag ( you can only imagine what for), he used the social media accounts of the hostages to claim he wanted the world to know Australia was under attack. This wasn't just some robbery that went bad and ended in a siege. He was a lone wolf with extremist views, if you can really compare him to a domestic siege you really are a drop kick.

                The bloke was mentally disturbed and was no more a terrorist than Julian knight of the hoddle st massacre. These people use any excuse to carry out their crimes but that's all they are, just criminals.

                  Why are you trying so desperately to make excuses? The man is/was a terrorist. He used a jihadist flag (at least co-opted by a few groups since the 90s), made hostages fly that flag, asked for an IS flag, has terrorised families of diggers in the past... "Lone wolf" attacks are encouraged by IS. They congratulated him on what he'd done.
                  It was ideologically driven terrorism. Whether he was sane or not has nothing to do with it.

                  He was mentally disturbed - does not alter the fact that he was also a terrorist, a terrorist for his religion in which he has been an extremist.
                  His mentor, Mr Moh was not much different by all sources of history. He was a dictatorial chauvinist who freely used his sword and armies whenever someone disagreed with him.
                  I suggest you put all this in perspective with history and objectivity.
                  He represented his belief system to a 'T'.

          He did demand an ISIS flag, Im not sure how that could be interpreted as having nothing to do with terrorism.

            very true. would have to be possibly the dumbest first request from a hostage taker though wouldnt it. GET BACK OR ILL DO IT....p.s. can you get me a flag?

            Surely if he was a terrorist, he would have had an ISIS flag to take with him?

            If he was a legit terrorist... wouldn't he have his own?

    Exactly, Blaming the majority for the issues of not even the minority is to be completely frank, unaustralian and only plays into the hands of these extremist. Buy committing these types of attacks, they hope to spread fear and terror so that normal people of their own faith will be tormented and pushed further to their cause aka the cycle of terror

    Islam is not a race. It's a religion. Muslims can be white, Anglo-Saxon, Australian born.

      Agreed. Luke Hopewelll is perpetuating the negative stereotype that Muslims are a separate 'race' from everyone else, which only serves to enforce divides in our multicultural society. In fact, Muslims derive from multiple ethnic groups across the world.

        Hey, Cam from Gizmodo here. We get what you guys mean; we've updated the story to reflect the myriad backgrounds of people of the Muslim religion.

          The headline should be changed too. There is no racism involved. It is the bigotry of some people towards others wearing religious symbol.

          Yet you still claim racism. Muslims can be white, anglo, Australian-born. How do you justify your claims of racism? Which race is being attacked here?

        multiculturalism does divide...you cannot have strength and social cohesion and promote diversity...just as you can't suck and blow at the same time....

      Ordinary, day to day definitions of 'racism' and 'racial discrimination' extend quite equally to ethnic or cultural discrimination too. CERD and other such conventions doesn't distinguish between racial/ethnic/cultural discrimination either. This sort of pedantry doesn't really contribute anything useful to the conversation.

        Rubbish. Racism, sexism, ageism, disability-based discrimination - these are genuinely evil as one cannot change one's race, sex, age etc. Religion is ANOTHER THING ALTOGETHER. You can choose your religion - and anything you choose is game for discussion, ridicule etc. (Which football team do you support?)

          And I wonder, Jason Powell - do you support asylum seekers who are choosing freedom of religion and therefore have to escape regimes which do not allow freedom of religion?

          I dont think it is as simple as a choice though. I mean i couldnt choose to be Christian; because i dont believe in any gods. Sure my choices might reflect what i believe, and my beliefs can be affected by my choices, but choosing your religion isnt like choosing what to have for breakfast.

          If you support the manly sea eagles someone may goof on you. But if someone from the manly se eagles goes and beats his wife I wouldn't put you in the same basket.. BUT WHAT!?!? oh wait you picked to like the manly sea eagles so you must support wife beating..? no.. you like the team because they are from manly and so are you.. it has nothing to do with 1 man beating on his wife..

          Just because you are still muslim and you believe in the spiritual beliefs and same book as a crazy nut does not mean you support the nut..

          grow up

          Last edited 16/12/14 12:42 pm

            Unfotunately for d3athmaster's argument, the Koran prescribes and recommends wife beating, unlike the Sea Eagles who probably don't. Read sections 4:34 as just one example, there are many more.

          Jason, firstly: perhaps you have such a slim grasp on reality that you can just choose to believe anything, but I know I can't. As an atheist I couldn't just will myself to believe in God any more than I could (as a hetro man) will myself to find you sexually attractive. I assume its a similar case for believers.
          Secondly, why exactly would someone's most fundamental beliefs *in themselves* make those people fair game for harassment (why would anything make someone fair game for harassment for that matter)? Because that's what we're talking about here: harassing people who have done nothing wrong themselves, because of a belief they happen to share with a violent nutter. We're not talking about holding an opinion or expressing it in the context of a religious discussion: we're talking about getting in their faces about their beliefs without their consent. It's rude, arrogant, stupid, bigoted and (on a broad definition of 'racisim' that includes ethnicity etc) racist.

            Wow greatleapingcrab - that certainly takes the prize for liberal hogwash. Jason is absolutely correct to point out that religion is ABSOLUTELY a choice and your "assumption" is nonsense. Cultural pressures, narrow minded and poorly funded educational systems and plain ignorance may very well make it hard to change your religion but it certainly can be done in the right environment. You cannot seriously compare it to someones skin colour or sexual preference? Liberal "tolerance" and fear of criticising is one reason why the creationist movement has taken such a hold in parts of America. And why it's taking so long to remove prejudice against gay people. Religion has to be called out and challenged on it's preconceptions and non-rational ideas that affect us all (and no I'm not condoning harassment). Extremism thrives because it isn't challenged enough by "mainstream" religious thinking, which in turn is let off the hook by liberal ideas of tolerance for faith based thinking. Religious groups would love to hear your attempts to turn it into racism - as it will shut down criticism of it - not on my watch mate.

      Even though Islam is not a race, racist people will associate a certain ethnic background with Islam, and with terrorism. Right thinking people usually know it isn’t a race, but racist people, and bigots in general, aren’t right thinking people. So I think it is still relevant to talk about racism and Islam.

    As angry as I am at the world and how pissed off I get with most people. This actually made me cry. Faith in humanity restored, even if just a little.

    Why is the background image of a Deutschbahn station in Germany?

      Are you for real? Either join in the discussion or leave. We don't need this type of pedanticism during such an important discussion.

        Oh god it's sad isn't? I've seen more here than on the SMH comments section.

    Just wonderful.

    Was there really a wave of racism and bigotry over this incident? I didn't really see much but then again I'm not particularly active on social media. Most of what I've seen just refers to the guy as an Islamic extremist, which he appears to be if he's aligned with IS.

      The sentiment that I've seen -- if you search for it on Facebook and Twitter -- is there are/were plenty of people taking the actions of one alleged Islamic extremist as representative of wider Muslim culture and Muslim people. And that's not good at all -- thus the hashtag.

      I think all of the stupid Anti-Austrlian comments by Australian Islamic clerics are bubbling up.

      This is a religion that thinks it has another law to Australia, and is ACTIVELY asking for their own courts so they don't have to be under our law.

      This is were the resentment is coming from. It's instigated from clerics.

        Mm, all what, five of those clerics? Imagine if somebody claimed that five priests spoke for all of Christianity in Australia...

          To be fair one man speaks for all of the Roman Catholics.

            If you're referring to the pope, he speaks for the institution, not the people.

          ^ we call him the pope.. the cardinal.. and yeah they basically do.. but im not Christian so it means nothing to me anyway

            Yes, and Islam has the Mufti and Imams.

            In this instance, it's not comparing the Pope speaking for all catholics, it's like saying a half-dozen parish priests represent every single catholic person in Australia, from the youngest child all the way to the Archbishop.

      Please, the VERY first thing I thought when I saw this news break yesterday morning was "oh good, now this single nutter is going to be the basis of every idiot bogan's anti-muslim argument for the next decade."

      And I wish I was being facetious, but when I got into work and saw the TV in the break room, those were my EXACT words to the letter.

      Last edited 16/12/14 3:43 am

        No thought for his victims then?

          Nope, I didn't even have any detail at this point. All I saw was "OMG YOU GUYS. MUSLIM CAFE SIEGE! MUSLIM! TERRORISM!" Once I got further details, of course I felt for those inside the cafe.

        I accidentally hit the dowvote button, and It's not changing. I meant to up vote, honest!

        So, you're projecting your prejudice onto a nation? The first thing you thought was racist so, everyone else must be thinking the same? Can you point me to this mass racism that's been occurring? No, you can't.
        What about those of us who've read their holy book and can see exactly where things like this come from? Pick 1 of the several dozens calls for violence and war against non-believers with no historical context. Are we "idiot bogans" too? Or are you just a bigot all around?

          Every idiot bogan, not every Australian.

          Believe me, I know enough people to justify my idea. I had a workmate tell me that TWENTY FIVE PERCENT of the world's Muslim population are extremist terrorists. That's 400 million people, for those playing at home. So the equivalent of 125% of the population of the United States are extremist muslims.

    When riding public transport I've always made a point of sitting next to women if they're wearing religious attire, so no change here.

      As long as it's not a fetish...

        You mean - it's all good to sit beside a nun now and then, but don't get into the habit?

    I admire people who are willing to accept people as people first not the religion that most are born into without choice. Religion is mislabeled as race by both clerics who wish to enforce compliance & globalists left & right who share a similar desire for compliance if from a different dogmatic positions. Perhaps 'fundamentalist' is the correct term seeing as most adherents to all 3 monotheisms rarely actually follow the word to a 'T', thank????? However accepting that this man most likely proudly considers himself a fundamentalist of his faith he is on solid theological ground, sorry. There is not much easy comfort when the Quran is understood to be presented by Sura length shortest to longest . Once it is placed in chronological order At-Taubah, Sura 9 is 2nd last at 113th & 129 verses, The last Sura is only 3 verses & its all about giving all to Allah. Within Islamic jurisprudence though the Quran is all perfect it is understood that latter abrogates former therefore Sura 9:29 is highly regarded. The rest of Sura 9 isn't a love fest either. !!SORRY!! Sura9:29: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. Sorry. How Australia as a multicultural society works around the above whilst we are also a neo-collonialist country that supports resource, US$ enforcement & drug wars (as in the war brings the drugs, Afghanistan/Vietnam etc) around the world is anyone's guess. Hearing of women refugees from Afghanistan being refused refuge is heart breaking however dealing with cultures that bring monotheism as described above is not a Faustian problem that will be solved by any kind of denial.

      Sounds troubling. Someone who is quite fundamental in his beliefs once told me: You haven't understood the Quran unless you can read Arabic. Is there a possibility anything has been Lost in translation?

        Nothing has been lost in translation. Your reaction is the same as anybody who finds out what Islam actually is. You cannot cast your own interpretation on a faith that dictates itself to be literal. Don't let activists explain away something as important as understanding a faith that billions live by. Do your own research and reach your own conclusions.

      ALL the ibrihamic religions have similar passages. In some parts of the world Christians still punish people based in Hong scripture. This isn't a "muslim" thing. It's what happens when a part of the world is so bleak and war torn that religion is the only thing people can turn to for hundreds of years, and so it becomes the most powerful force.

        No, it's an Islam thing. Seriously. Islam cannot be judged the same as other religions, because it has built-in anti-interpretation.

          Nonsense. Each member of this group of religions contains a (variously large) number of competing interpretations, and groups which represent the various interpretations - even when the text itself must not be changed at all (e.g. judaism). Each sect or group selectively interprets particular parts differently, or outright ignores parts which don't fit their established worldview. To claim that Islam is somehow different is unmitigated bollocks.

            You have no idea what you're talking about.

            1. Islam is not just a religion. It's a theological blend of religion and law.

            2. The Qu'ran states that it is the literal word of God, therefore not open to interpretation.

            3. Followers of the Islamic faith must obey and follow Sharia law wherever it is instituted.

            4. Sharia law dictates that the Qu'ran is a literal text and should be obeyed as such.

            5. Where Sharia law is not instituted, it is a Muslim's duty to take measures to see that it is instituted.

            These are all facts.

            There is no such thing as moderate Islam, because the Qu'ran is very specific and clear about how worshippers are to follow its text.

            respectfully, study something before you put your own assumptions on it.

              Aren't there similar things in the Old Testament? Things about apostates and who should be stoned and so forth. And most Jewish people and Christians are moderate and would say that just because the Bible states something is punishable by some horrific violence doesn't make it necessary. It seems likely that the same could be said about Islam.

              Regardless, I've heard many Muslim people say that they don't think that Sharia law must be followed to the letter, and I'm inclined to believe them.

                The problem is, Christians and most other faiths do not take their scriptures quite as literally as Muslims do. They are not going around stoning people, whipping them and forcing them into arranged marriages at the age of 12. Forcing sharia law on people is outrageous. Fanaticism breeds evil in a lot of cases. Christians are being murdered in the hundreds if not thousands right now.

                  They aren't HERE. But in places like central africa, where American fire-and-brimstone bible-literal preachers have a captive audience, there is ABSOLUTELY stonings, imprisonment of gays and adulterers, marriages of 12 year olds, and all that fun old-testament eye-for-an-eye stuff.

                  Again, I haven't seen any stonings done by muslims here in Australia. The middle east is a very small part of the world that, sadly, due to international politics gets a lot of media attention. So people who choose not to see past what the television throws at them believe that it is indicative of all muslims the actions of this very backwards part of the world.

              I believe you are the only sensible person in all these discussions.

      Over a million women were murdered in the name of the bible in the olden days. Sometimes religions gets skewed by certain believers. This will never end because it's not the religion, it's some of the believers that are the problem.

        I can't help but wonder, if they didn't have the overwhelming majority against them, and the iron-fist of law opposing them, would all those "Gays are evil and must be cleansed" christians even HESISTATE to take a shotgun and start rounding up all the 'undesirables'?

          They did in the past and thankfully we have laws to curb their idiotic outlook on life.

    If john do evil, john gets blame BUT If Mohammad do evil Islam gets blame than shame.

    For Muslims in this world it's injustice and unfair, and it's not surprise that media has never been really care.

    But now it's up to us people to have everyone aware, So start it now please #ISISnotinmyname

    What an awesome gesture!! As a multi-cultural Australia, something like this makes me even more proud..

    The biggest act of bigotry in all this is the asshole who has taken a cafe full of people hostage and is threatening them with a weapon. In addition he is advertising his religion thorough the use of symbolism. The victims are in the cafe.

      Finally, a logical comment on here!

        Can't believe they deleted it!

          Hey, looks like that comment was moderated out, but I've checked it and it seems just fine. I've reinstated it now :)

    What we all must keep in mind is we cannot hold accountable all Australian muslims for the individuals actions so it is with this in mind I say well done and what a wonderful concept = Ride with me. http://aupact.weebly.com/

    Campbell Simpson...like what you're saying and doing. Whenever you come to Perth,look us up.We need you for an hour at our Forum.

    Australia... really proud of you.Your response to the situation is really mature and reflects your respect for other races, religions and cultures.

    One people, one world, one love...be nice to each other.

    OMG... australians are sooo cuuuute!!!

      What with our spiders, snakes, drop-bears, box jellyfish crocodiles and sharks and all.
      Yeah - We're cute!

    keep it up all

    Lovely to see the power of social media harnessed for good for a change.

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