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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 27 February, 2020

Australian commuters offer to accompany Muslims to work if they don't feel safe

It follows fears that Muslims may be targeted after a gunman took several people hostage in a cafe.

Hostages in the cafe.
Hostages in the cafe.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

AUSTRALIANS ARE RALLYING together for the Muslim community in Sydney following fears for their safety after a man took dozens of people hostage in a café.

The gunman has displayed a flag associated with jihadists in the window, prompting fears that people will retaliate against innocent people.

Members of the public are now posting details of their route to work and offering anyone who feels uncomfortable travelling on their own to accompany them.

The offer began after some people expressed discomfort about being in the city while wearing clothes which signal a religious belief.

#IllRideWithYou, which is trending globally, was started by Twitter user @SirTessa, after she spotted a story on Facebook about a woman taking off her hijab on a train.

An unknown number of hostages are still being held in the cafe.

The man has demanded that a flag of the Islamic State group be delivered to him and warned that four bombs have been planted around the city, Channel Ten said.

More than 40 Australian Muslim groups have jointly condemned a siege at a Sydney cafe in which hostages were taken by an armed man and an Islamic flag displayed.

“We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being or to instil fear and terror into their hearts,” they said in a statement.

The black flag shown at a window in the Lindt cafe was one commonly used by jihadist groups bearing the shahada, or profession of faith in Islam. It said: “There is no God but Allah; Mohammed is his messenger.”

The Muslim groups said the inscription “is not representative of a political statement, but reaffirms a testimony of faith that has been misappropriated by misguided individuals that represent no-one but themselves”.

Additional reporting © AFP 2014

LIVE: Siege in Sydney continues as lights go out in Lindt café >

More: Uber offers free trips after it increased prices during Sydney siege >

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Nicky Ryan

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