SYDNEY – A campaign to show solidarity with the Muslim community is encouraging New Zealanders to wear headscarves on Friday, a week after attacks on two Christchurch mosques killed 50 people.
Organizer of “Scarves in Solidarity” Raewyn Rasch told EFE that the campaign invites people in the country to wear a headscarf and show that “New Zealand is an inclusive society.”
“It is vital that all women feel safe in their country and that includes Muslim women. One madman cannot and will not change that. No one should be afraid to express their culture,” Rasch said.
The event coincides as Muslims will be regrouping for weekly congregational prayers at the mosques in Christchurch on Friday afternoon that will be telecast live nationally with two minutes of silence in memory of the victims.
Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder following the armed attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. The suspected white supremacist live-streamed the massacre on Facebook.
The “Scarves in Solidarity” has also created a Facebook page with a promotional video showing a young girl putting on a scarf around her head. The campaign echoes the phrase coined by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “We are one, they are us.”
Ardern had worn a head scarf a day after the attack when she visited Christchurch to show support to the victims, their families and the Muslim community. Her pictures showing her head covered in hijab became viral.
“We started this campaign because we believe New Zealanders are looking for ways they can really show their support for our Muslim community,” Rasch said, adding that she did not know the number of people joining the initiative.
Some Facebook users have hailed the campaign on its social media page.
Gee Jalil, apparently a Muslim Facebook user, thanked the organizers, saying the gesture was heart touching.
Some have also voiced criticism and called it an “erroneous” and “ridiculous” idea.
Some Muslims, especially women, in New Zealand say that they are scared to go out on the streets as they fear attacks by far-right and white supremacists.
Such initiatives have been organized in the past in several countries with Australia supporting Muslims and their right to wear headscarves.