‘We Are With You’: New Zealand Women Wear Headscarves To Show Solidarity With Muslims

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves after the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

CHRISTCHURCH (REUTERS) — Women all over New Zealand put on headscarves on Friday to show solidarity with Muslims a week after 50 people were killed at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

A doctor in Auckland, Thaya Ashman, came up with the idea to encourage people to wear a headscarf after hearing about a woman who was too scared to go out as she felt her headscarf would make her a target for terrorism.

“I wanted to say: ‘We are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you’,” Ashman said.

As Christchurch geared up for prayers at a park in front of the Al Noor mosque, where most of the victims were killed last week, women in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch posted pictures of themselves in headscarves, some with children in headscarves, too.

“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, in Christchurch.

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.

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