New Zealand Women Don Headscarves to Support Muslims After Shootings
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern won widespread praise last week for putting on a black headscarf when meeting members of the Muslim community after the shootings.
A woman holds a fern during a vigil for the victims of the mosque attacks during an ecumenical celebration in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
As Christchurch geared up for prayers on Friday (March 22) to remember the 50 people killed at two mosques in the city a week ago, women of all faiths put on headscarves to show solidarity with the Muslim community.
"Why am I wearing a headscarf today? Well, my primary reason was that if anybody else turns up waving a gun, I want to stand between him and anybody he might be pointing it at. And I don't want him to be able to tell the difference, because there is no difference," said Bell Sibly outside the Al Noor mosque, where most of the victims were killed.
The nationwide Head Scarf for Harmony campaign for Friday was started by a doctor in Auckland after hearing about a woman who was too scared to go out in case her headscarf made her a target for terrorism.
Many Muslim women cover their heads in public with the hijab as a sign of modesty, although some critics see it as a sign of female oppression. While the New Zealand campaign won support and appreciation from the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand and the NZ Muslim Association, it has opponents in New Zealand and beyond.
Many reporters and security officials present at the mosques followed suit and donned the traditional head garment:
Reporters and security workers are wearing hijab out of respect as people gather in Christchurch’s Hagley Park for Friday prayers, one week after the mosque shootings. pic.twitter.com/t5Z6bJ7uJQ— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) March 21, 2019
(With Reuters inputs)
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