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London Bombings survivor: "I will not continue the hatred that's been shown to me, this ends here."

If you’re looking for detail on the Sydney siege and related tributes, see this post.

For details on the hostages of the Sydney siege, see this post.

Survivor of the London bombings, Gill Hicks is urging Australians to remain united in the wake of the Martin Place siege in Sydney.

The South Australian of the Year lost both her legs in the 2005 London bombings and has since become an advocate for peace. Speaking on 891 ABC Adelaide this morning, Dr Hicks said she was “incredibly proud” of the#illridewithyou campaign which began on Twitter yesterday to show support for Muslims in Australia.

“When society says ‘no, terrorism isn’t going to win here’, then that is an incredible message that we’ve told the world last night, we’ve told each other as a nation and indeed I hope that those who have an extremist persuasion and belief have also heard it very loudly,” Dr Hicks said.

“When society says ‘no, terrorism isn’t going to win here’, then that is an incredible message that we’ve told the world last night, we’ve told each other as a nation and indeed I hope that those who have an extremist persuasion and belief have also heard it very loudly,” Dr Hicks said.

She said while Australians cannot control random acts of violence, they should focus on what they can control and how it reacts to these events.

“It’s nine years since my event where I’ve lost both my legs so I could never escape the permanent injuries and the life-changing effect that has had on me, and absolutely I’m angry,” she said.

“I’m angry every day of all the things that have been lost in my life that I can do”.

“However, it is using that anger as a positive fuel to make a difference. I was very clear from the beginning that this cycle of violence has to end with me. I will not be looking for retribution, I will not continue the hatred that’s been shown to me, this ends here.”

Australians must talk about causes of extremism: Hicks

She said while some may criticise the extensive coverage of the siege, now was the time Australia needed to look more closely at the root causes of extremism.

“It’s time to be looking at the root causes. Why does this happen? What is happening to our young people? Who is being influenced by the messaging around extremism? And let’s get to the root causes,” she said.

“And I think opening up and shining a light on this problem and indeed creating and starting a conversation is vital to ensure that we’re all aware, that we’re all on the same page and that we are all again saying we will not bow down and be in fear of terrorism.”

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Islamic Society of South Australia president Walleed Al Khazrajy said the local community was shocked to hear about the attack in Martin Place.

He described the attack as terrorism, but said it was important to remember not all terrorism is associated with a religion.

“Yes it is an act of terrorism, every act of taking people as hostages or attacking the innocent, going about their normal life and they come under attack from any person is an act of terrorism,” Dr Al Khazrajy said.

“And terrorism should not at all times be associated with a religion, and this time, with Islam.

“The people who commit these acts and engage in acts of terrorism or any act of spreading fear and damage across the globe, not only here, has nothing to do with our religion.”

Local community ‘not equipped to rehabilitate extremists’

Dr Al Khazrajy said it was hard to offer support to young Australians being swayed into extremist views.

He said while he would always work hand-in-hand with state and federal communities, the Islamic Society was not equipped to rehabilitate youths with extremist views.

“We are not really equipped, we are not specialised in dismantling, and treating and addressing these youths,” he said.

“When reports come saying there are 70 people here in Australia [with extreme views] unfortunately we don’t know where they are because they don’t come to the natural outlets of our community.

“They don’t come to our celebrations, they don’t come to our events. They immediately go and withdraw themselves and be outsiders.”

He said past terrorist attacks had proven that even those close to the extremists, including their families, were unaware of their intentions to commit acts of violence.

Dr Al Khazrajy said he was confident Muslims in Adelaide would not be targeted after this attack.

“This time I feel more comfortable and I feel like Australia and the Australian community is more mature towards these events, because it is now quite clear in everybody’s mind it is an act of individual and nothing to do with the religion and nothing to do with the smaller community,” he said.

This story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission

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