Fraser Coast hosts Sydney siege memorial at beach
THE symbolic gesture of hosting a candlelight ceremony for the victims of the Sydney siege has brought together more than 60 Fraser Coast residents to pay their respects.
People from a range of faiths, social circumstances and locations gathered at the beach at Torquay near Aquavue Cafe on Monday evening.
Organiser Amanda Edwards said the support was overwhelmingly positive.
"We are absolutely thrilled by the number of people who were able to join us," Mrs Edwards said.
"It was about the whole community showing their support.
"Lasting friendships and connections were made that night.
"I think this is only the beginning of what we can do as a community to promote inclusiveness."
Mrs Edwards said she thought most Fraser Coast residents would be surprised to learn how much they had in common with their neighbours from other cultural backgrounds.
She said it was an article in the Fraser Coast Chronicle that first gave her the idea for the event to promote community spirit and show support for the people of Sydney.
"I didn't like to hear there were any members of the Fraser Coast Muslim community who might be fearful after the siege tragedy," Mrs Edwards said.
A leader of the Hervey Bay Muslim Community Centre, Khaled Shahin, said he and other members of the Pialba Muslim community centre declined to be photographed for a story last Tuesday because of fears there could be repercussions from the wider community.
Mrs Edwards and group members of the Fraser Coast We'll Ride With You Facebook group are collecting messages of support for the City of Sydney in condolence books to be gifted on behalf of the Fraser Coast.