Following the recent terrorist hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, the mainstream media was filled with stories promoting racial and ethnic division, and suggesting that that there would be violence between Muslims and non-Muslims as a result of the isolated incident that occurred. However, instead many people have acted intelligently and compassionately following the tragedy.
Many Muslims were afraid to travel the day after the attack, and some had decided to travel without their religious clothing. Luckily, a random act of kindness sparked a viral hashtag to make Muslim commuters feel more comfortable. The viral phenomana was sparked by a woman named Rachael Jacobs who was on the train when she saw another woman remove her hijab, presumably fearing persecution.
Jacobs said that “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’.
The random act of kindness inspired other Twitter users to do the same thing, and eventually the hashtag “#illridewithyou” was born.
People all over Australia began posting the hashtag on Twitter, along with their stops and routes, so Muslim strangers could have a friendly companion during their commute.
“I saw one tweet that was just a very small act of kindness to a frightened Muslim women on public transport and it pretty much broke my heart, and it just seemed like something that there should be more of in the world. I can’t say that I planned this at all. It has been amazing to watch this take off,” Twitter user Tessa Kum told the BBC.
Below is what one person decided to do, as a way of showing public support for the cause: