Australian Muslims condemn 'madman' gunman as #illridewithyou trends

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Australia's Muslim community has come out in force to disassociate itself from the man responsible for a fatal siege in Sydney’s CBD.

Members of Australia’s Muslim community have condemned the acts of siege gunman Man Haron Monis, describing him as a madman who in no way represents Islam.

In the Sydney suburb of Lakemba, a predominantly Muslim community, residents were horrified today at news of the siege's shocking outcome.

Resident Faiza Khan told SBS she took issue with the way Monis had been linked with Islam.

"I have a problem with it being described as a Muslim problem because to me he was an idiot," Ms Khan said.

“He was a lunatic. He doesn't represent me. He doesn't represent Muslims.

"So why even make it an Islamic problem; why make it a Muslim issue?"

Muslim Community figure Jamal Riffi said the 16-hour siege was the act of a lone wolf.

"The action of this man is the action of a madman and should not and is not reflected by the attitude among Australian Muslim community," he said.

And Randa Kattan, of the Arab Council Australia, said there were now fears that Muslim men and women would be targeted.

"People are quite worried about what is going to happen because of the reprisal and repercussion as a result of what happened"  she said.

But Silma Ihram, of the Australia Muslim Women's Association, said she had faith that Australian would come together in the wake of tragedy.

"We really hope that Australians will stand strong together and look after each other, and that everybody will work towards preventing this kind of thing from happening again,” she said.

“In a climate of fear, Australians are banding together with the Muslim community.”

A positive sign: the Twitter hashtag #Illridewithyou has gone viral worldwide since its inception yesterday afternoon, with people offering to accompany women in Muslim attire on public transport if they fear for their safety.

The hashtag has been tweeted more than 100,000 times and trending worldwide.

On Tuesday morning, Ahmad Malas, of the Lebanese Muslim Association, travelled with his sister to work on a Sydney train and told SBS that what he witnessed had given him hope.

"One of the ladies was wearing a head scarf and a lady of Anglo appearance came up to her and started comforting her and talking to her," he said.

"As an observer it seemed that she was really making sure that she was okay."

Track the popularity of #illridewithyou:

Source: SBS

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