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The Sydney gunman and my thoughts on the Twitter campaign

Another day, another religious person threatening to kill innocent people for a God they have never met.

Sadly one hostage has been killed.

This is another addition to the terrorism statistics. According to the BBC World Service and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, the death toll totalled 5,042 in November with 664 separate attacks. That is seven or eight people dead in every terror act. 168 people each day woke up for the last time.


If December is similar, we should be closing in on two to three thousand dead. It frustrates me. But so does the desire to stand up for the beliefs of moderates, although themselves condemning such violence. There is a campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #illridewithyou after a female Muslim was seen removing her hijab on a train shortly after the attack. Another lady caught up to her and said ‘put it back on, I’ll walk with you’.

Now I adore the community spirit and the love shown here between religions and cultures. It shows in the grand scheme of things, the majority of people are compassionate and tolerant, kind and loving. Religious or not.

And this lady who felt the need to take of her hijab is no doubt an example of this. A victim herself. But what are we actually doing when we provide support and build empathy for those who are left isolated or alienated after a belief they share has played a role in an attack?

We condemn the terrorist(s).

But it is not for having faith in a book with violent passages, that is widely accepted. It is only when the passages are acted out.

We then feel sorry for moderates that are vulnerable to discrimination when a terrorists carries out an act sourced from the books, read by both the moderate and fundamentalist alike. Beliefs sharing the same passages.

See it from this perspective.

A nazi moderate is on a bus in the 1940’s, in an area or country of neutrality.

(I am in no way suggesting moderate believers are nazis, hopefully this is made clear come the end of the example)

He or she learns of a mass killing of Jews, becoming very ashamed and concerned about possible repercussions. Nazi attire is slowly taken off. The individual absorbed inspiration solely from the positive segments of speeches by Hitler and his book Mein Kampf, ignoring anything deemed to be immoral.

A genuinely good person.

A passer by of another political affiliation and opposing nationality realises this, approaches and demands the nazi to put the attire back on, providing support and comfort. This results in a larger community get-together to show compassion towards the shaken nazi.

This should seem a bizarre situation to anyone. This is the best I can do to describe my thoughts on the Twitter campaign. Compassion is key to keeping peace, I cannot and will not oppose anyone supporting a campaign to get those who feel alone feeling loved and appreciated again. It is seen today in Sydney with the attempt to build bridges between cultures.

I continue to be baffled when religions escape criticism. Those who are moderate followers should consider (and be persuaded to consider in conversation) what they are following, though never made to feel a threat or cause of attacks. Those who are in support should look at what they are in support of.

We could very well be feeding the mouth that bites. I will show support to those who are discriminated against as a result of the gunman, I just cannot follow the campaign as I know the religion it is supporting will be the source of many more deaths in the months and years to come.

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