Australian Muslim women anxious in wake of siege
THE former president of the Australian Muslim Women's Association has urged the country not to become "hostages to fear".
Silma Ihram laid flowers at the burgeoning Martin Place memorial this morning before speaking about the anxiety Australian Muslim women and children felt in the wake of the attack.
"We just wanted to show that we feel, like everybody else, the loss of innocence for the city of Sydney, the fact that we're all hostages to fear, that we're all grieving and we're all suffering," she said.
"What has happened here is a terrible tragedy.
"Our condolences go out to the families and the friends of those people who have suffered, and we really hope that Australians will stand strong together, look after each other and that everybody will work towards preventing this kind of thing happening again."
Ms Ihram denounced the killer's actions and said the Muslim community was moved by everyday Australians showing their support through the use of the #illridewithyou hashtag on social media.
The Twitter movement has been used by more than 100,000 non-Muslim Australians offering to ride on buses and trains Muslims who fear misplaced reprisal following the Martin Place killing.
"Unfortunately, the most vulnerable in our community - the Muslim women and the children, sometimes - are the ones that bear the backlash of these terrible events, even though it's so far from our faith and so far from our belief," Ms Ihram said.
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"It meant a huge amount to us, and that's what's so special about being an Australian.
"There will always be those people who seek to associate the Muslim community with the terrible things that are happening in different parts of the world.
"We applaud those people who have the greater vision to see that the religion of Islam has nothing to do with this and that all of us are mourning the loss of the lives that have been taken."