#IllRideWithYou Tweeters Lend Support to Muslims as Sydney Siege Comes to an End

A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia. Rob Griffith/AP

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Tweeters offering to escort Australian Muslims who fear racially or religiously motivated attacks in response to a hostage situation in Sydney have adopted the hashtag #illridewithyou, which has quickly spread across social media. This support for Australian Muslims comes after a black flag with Arabic writing on it was seen displayed on the cafe window where the siege continues to unfold.

The Guardian reports that Tessa Kum started the hashtag after she saw this story on Twitter:

The idea quickly caught on, and Sydney residents have been using #illridewithyou to publicly reach out to anyone who may want a partner to travel with as authorities work to put an end to the standoff:

As of 9:05 AM EST, five hostages have either escaped or been released. Muslim leaders, who condemned the “criminal act,” are urging residents stay calm.

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