We’ll Ride Together, Australia

Eyes glued to the screen. The newsreporter opens her mouth.

Recently, the horrific Sydney Siege captured nationwide. Here in fruitful, humble Australia, an armed man seized a small cafe in Sydney with 17 unsuspecting victims at his mercy. He identified himself as a Muslim.

And the pin drops. At a time where the word ‘Islam’ bears frightening connotations post the 9/11 twin tower attacks.

But this is not Islam.

My studies in Islam is a religion of peace where harming innocents is prohibited, deceit is a sin and utmost patience and tolerance is virtue. Love is valued above all.

“… who so kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

— [Quran, 5:53]

Most people interpret extremist behaviour as specific to Islamic ideologies. When considering that, it’s understandable why non-Muslims may adopt mixed emotions about this religion. Let me leave you a thought: terrorism contradicts the very essence of Islam; a religion promoting love and peace. Terrorists are not just extremists; they are defiers of Islam, and a misrepresentation of the morals and values expressed in both the religion, and within followers.

Prejudice doesn’t disappear easily. From the nefarious reputation Islam has gained over the years, those associated have been generalised and depicted as scapegoats. This year, an elderly woman shouted insults to my hijab-wearing mother at a shopping centre –my mother, who smiled at the woman earlier out of friendliness, left the scene in humiliation. Simply remembering this event reminds me how ignorance, hatred and fear of the unknown prevails the most beautiful, natural of human emotions: love, compassion and acceptance.

Following the Sydney Siege, a trending tag on Twitter quickly followed: #illridewithyou.

The basic concept of the tag involves Australians uniting with Muslims to fight ignorance and abuse on public transports throughout this difficult time, by quite following the hashtag quite literally: these kind citizens are offering to ride alongside Muslim individuals to ensure their safety in a time of potential violence. This tag swiftly became viral. When I was initially informed of this, my heart fluttered at the generosity, warmth compassion and, strongest of all, pride for simply being Australian. It was an act of kindness I will never forget. 

Tragically, the Sydney Siege didn’t end peacefully. Several beautiful human beings passed away in the event, leading to the united grieving of the entire nation. Let me reinforce this: the entire nation. My mother and I prayed for the victims, their children and for the families –and I acknowledge this as a common emotion for every Muslim that melancholic day.

We all felt pain. We felt the loss. We grieved together.

There were no exceptions.




4 thoughts on “We’ll Ride Together, Australia

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