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Australians united thanks to power of social relations – Dr Alex Smith

Dr Alexander Smith, a sociologist from the University of Warwick, was born and raised in Australia. Reflecting on recent events in the country, he said: “With the siege of the Sydney cafe over, Australians are now picking up the pieces and asking themselves difficult questions. Could this have been prevented? Could more have been done to save the three lives that were lost: the two hostages and the gunman himself?

“More importantly, people are now debating what kind of society Australia is and what they want it to be in the aftermath of this tragedy. Many share concerns about the potential for a backlash against Muslims. Drawing on their nation's famous traditions of friendship and 'standing up for your mates', thousands of Australians are declaring solidarity with fellow citizens who are Muslim by backing the 'illridewithyou' hashtag, which has gone viral in social media.

“This inspiring campaign speaks to the power of social relations, to bring citizens together in the face of a tragedy that could all too quickly have divided people against each other and driven them apart.”

Note to Editors:

Issued by Lee Page, Communications Manager, Press and Policy Office, The University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255, Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221. Email:


Lee Page, Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255

Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221