Why Australians Responded to the Sydney Hostage Crisis With #IllRideWithYou Tweets

Melissa Quinn /

A Twitter campaign called #IllRideWithYou spread across Australia today following news that a gunman, reportedly Muslim, had taken hostages in a Sydney cafe.

Amid the chaos, Australians banned together in hopes of combating “anti-Muslim sentiments” and started a Twitter campaign using #IllRideWithYou.

The hashtag began after an Australian woman named Rachael Jacobs saw a Muslim woman on the train removing her hijab, a veil worn by Muslim women that covers the head and chest. Jacobs told the woman to keep the veil on, and she told the woman she would walk with her.

Jacobs took to Facebook to post about the encounter, where it was shared widely.

The movement quickly spread as a way to encourage solidarity with the Muslim community and began trending on the social media site worldwide.

The hostage crisis, dubbed the “Sydney Siege,” lasted 16 hours. Police identified the gunman as Sheikh Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and Islamist cleric who wrote hate-filled letters to family members of Australian service members killed in conflicts abroad.

Monis had instructed hostages to hold up a black flag with white Arabic text and demanded a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Two people died, and three were seriously wounded.

Here are some tweets mentioning #IllRideWithYou:

If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.

— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014

Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?

— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014

This, this is what good people do. #sydneyseige #MartinPlace pic.twitter.com/zxbHLWzxEp

— Michael James (@MichaelJames_TV) December 15, 2014

#illridewithyou is an amazing initiative. I live in Bondi Junction and work in the city. happy to help where possible

— Baehead (Official) (@DECKHEAD) December 15, 2014

Those living in the City of Casey who feel unsafe, #illridewithyou. Message me and we'll work something out.

— Erin (@penorthesword) December 15, 2014

Australian Muslim youth handed out 2000 flowers and 3600 water bottles to ppl in sydney #illridewithyou pic.twitter.com/0UJYM3WLam

— Tanveer Ahmad (@TnvyrHashmi) December 15, 2014

Adelaide, Western suburbs on the H bus lines, I'll accompany you if you don't feel safe #illridewithyou

— Sam Wallwork (@about15) December 15, 2014

If you need someone to ride the train with you – I'm in Potts Point and #illridewithyou#sydneysiege

— Alex Bouchet (@AlexBouchet) December 15, 2014

I was going to drive to work tomorrow but seeing the outpouring of support changed my mind. #illridewithyou Thank you. See you on the train!

— Ozge Sevindik (@OzgeSevindik) December 15, 2014

Up and down the South Morang train line and #illridewithyou

— Steven Carr (@scarrgo71) December 15, 2014

I ride Croydon to Town Hall in the morning. Let me know if you need the company. #illridewithyou

— Frances Holland (@frances_holland) December 15, 2014

Travelling from Stanmore to the City on public transport tomorrow? If you don't feel safe #illridewithyou

— Danielle Warby (@DanielleWarby) December 15, 2014

Humanity at its finest. #illridewithyou because we are all humans and should be treated equally.

— Abinash Mishra (@Abinash_2K) December 15, 2014

Australians defy terrorists and show support during Sydney siege with viral #IllRideWithYou

— Allison Barrie (@allison_barrie) December 15, 2014

Saddened by the madness in Sydney. Hopeful because of the #illridewithyou movement – we are in this together

— Riz Ahmed (@rizmc) December 15, 2014

The #illridewithyou campaign makes you feel truly proud to be an Australian. Let's greet all Muslim citizens tomorrow with a smile.

— Glenn Mitchell (@MitchellGlenn) December 15, 2014

Beautiful: An Imam, a Rabbi and a priest hold joint prayer session for hostages – via @tomsteinfort pic.twitter.com/Taf9E9EYiA #illridewithyou

— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) December 15, 2014

Australians offer to accompany Muslim Australians in public places if they fear racist backlash, using #illridewithyou hashtag. Beautiful.

— Bina Shah (@BinaShah) December 15, 2014

As long as the West responds to Islamist terror as naively as #Illridewithyou instead of calling it what it is, it'll continue unabated.

— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) December 15, 2014

Funny I don't remember seeing #illridewithyou hashtags supporting Jews after any recent terror attacks.

— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) December 15, 2014

Is anybody saying #illridewithyou to all the people who are afraid to go to cafes today? If not, why not?

— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) December 15, 2014

#illridewithyou let's all stand up to next week's imaginary backlash to today's hostage crisis. #bravery

— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 15, 2014