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Online solidarity with Muslims after Sydney siege

Australians tweet with #IllRideWithYou hashtag to show support to their fellow Muslim citizens following the seige

Published: Updated:

Australians expressed solidarity with Muslim citizens on Monday when they began using the hashtag #IllRideWithYou after a gunman held around 30 people hostage in a Sydney café.

The idea of the hashtag started when an Australian woman named Rachael Jacobs noticed a woman sitting next to her on the train silently removing her hijab, fearing xenophobic comments.

To show her support, Jacobs urged the Muslim woman to keep it on and said: “I’ll ride with you.”

Initially the gunman’s motives were not clear.

However, pictures broadcasted from the scene showed a black and white flag similar to those used by the notorious Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group held up by what appeared to be a staff member and another woman, raising fears that it was an ISIS-linked attack.

Here are some of the tweets:

Two hostages killed in the siege were hailed as heroes "willing to lay down their lives so others might live" in a church service mourning their deaths.

Tori Johnson, the 34-year-old manager of the Lindt chocolate cafe where the crisis unfolded, and 38-year-old barrister and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson died as heavily-armed police ended the 16-hour stand-off.

At a prayer service in St. Mary's Cathedral about 500 meters from the cafe, Archbishop Anthony Fisher spoke of how the "heart of our city is broken by the deaths of two innocents".

"Reports have emerged this morning of the heroism of the male victim of this siege," Fisher said.

"Apparently seeing an opportunity Tori Johnson grabbed the gun, tragically it went off killing him. But it triggered the response of the police and eventual freedom for most of the hostages.

"Reports have also emerged that Katrina Dawson was shielding her pregnant friend from gunfire. These heroes were willing to lay down their lives so others might live."

(With AFP)