Sydney Siege Editorial: This is not time to put up barriers to inclusion and equality in Australia

Hundreds of people have left flowers in central Sydney memory of the hostages killed in Monday's siege.

Hundreds of people have left flowers in central Sydney memory of the hostages killed in Monday's siege.

THE tragic end to the Sydney siege is filling Australian hearts with grief.

The loss of lives of two of the hostages held by Man Haron Monis for more than 16 hours at a cafe in Sydney's central business district will also be a cause of great introspection.

This will be the moment where Australians determines its theoretical and moral approach to extremism and terrorism.

It is not time to put up barriers to inclusion and equality. It's a call to rip them down.

What we know about the Sydney siege is that it was carried out by one man with a violent past. A man who acted in defiance of the values which form the bedrock of a free and open society.

This is not the act of a death cult or of a group pushing extreme Islamic State notions. It is not the incident which establishes a link between Australia's involvement in world conflict and homegrown terrorism.

It is a despicable action which should be condemned for what it is and investigated to ensure the public has complete clarity over motive and method.

The solidarity of the Australian people will be defined by the outpouring of thoughts for the family and friends of the victims caught up in the siege. It is with them that we must first support.

Secondly, it is the Muslim community -  tainted and marginalised by the actions of one who does not represent their ethos - which Australians can rally.

A movement in support has already began across social media. The challenge is for it to permeate every crevice of our communities, beyond leaders and spokespeople to those who choose every day to call our free country home.

Because it is not only the strength of our armed forces, our police and emergency services, our political and societal leaders who must fight against the individuals or groups who seek to undermine our peace.

It is a community which acts as one - beyond a single day, a single month or a single year - which will ultimately ensure we prevail against extremism.