- Women in New Zealand wore headscarves to show solidarity with the Muslim community one week after 50 people were killed in two mosque shootings in Christchurch.
- The "Headscarf for Harmony" movement was started by Thaya Ashman, a doctor in Auckland.
- Participants shared photos of themselves wearing the scarves on social media, and some shared their stories with BAZAAR.com.
Women in New Zealand wore headscarves on Friday to pay tribute to the victims of the tragic shootings at two mosques in Christchurch last week. The gesture was a sign of solidarity with the Muslim community, which was targeted in the attack, especially Muslim women who wear the hijab, a veil covering the head and hair as an expression of their religious identity.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who swiftly announced a national ban on assault-style weapons a week after the tragedy that killed 50 people, wore a headscarf when she joined a Muslim call to prayer in Christchurch today. Women around the country—and around the world—also partook in the tribute.
News anchor Samantha Hayes wore a black headscarf on air. She noted on Instagram that this week, she saw a woman get harassed on the train for wearing a hijab after the shootings. "I’m wearing a headscarf today for her, and for the families and friends of those killed in Christchurch a week ago," she wrote in the post.
More participants in the tribute shared photos of themselves, friends, and families on social media, often with the hashtag #HeadscarvesForHarmony or #HeadscarfForHarmony. The social movement was started by Auckland doctor Thaya Ashman, Reuters reports. She started the movement, which is supported by Islamic Women's Council and the New Zealand Muslim Association, "to show our support, but also to recognise our grief as New Zealanders," she told Newshub.
Here, a few women tell BAZAAR.com about their decision to take part in the movement.
Rebecca Dickson of Christchurch, the city where the attacks took place, said she decided to wear a headscarf because "our Muslim community deserved to see that we love and support them. No one should feel fear or shame for what they wear or who they are. Kotahitanga is a beautiful Māori word meaning oneness and unity, and I believe we all helped embody that. I explained it to my daughter and she wanted to wear one too, one of two kids in her school who did. It was a simple thing for me to do but I can see it has meant a lot to so many."
Larissa (Lala) McCarthy, a mother of 5, from Taupo, New Zealand:
"I chose to wear a headscarf in solidarity with my Muslim sisters and brothers on March 22 as I believe in living my life through love and compassion. I believe in teaching my children to do the right thing, even when it is hard sometimes. I chose to feel and see only love. I felt proud yet humbled wearing it."
Krystal Elizabeth Edwards of Auckland City:
"I chose to wear a headscarf for many reasons, what happened in our country last week broke my heart. I wanted to go out into the world and show our unity, my love and support for the Muslim community. We are all one race: the human race. We will stand together in love and harmony and rise up against the hatred."
Lynia Brooking of Te Araroa, New Zealand:
"Not only did I take part in the headscarf tribute to show my undying support and love for our Muslim brothers and sisters, but to show, no matter how different we are, if we come together AS ONE PEOPLE in love and support, amazing things can happen."
Jordan Reid from Tauranga, New Zealand:
"After a week of joining this country in grieving the tragedy of last Friday, I felt I didn’t have the words to articulate my devastation and to express my support for the Muslim Community. When I came across #headscarvesforharmony, I realized that I could use my craft to silently create a symbol of unity and support for all NZ women."
Courtney Linwood from Oamaru, New Zealand:
"I truly believed we lived in one of the safest countries in the world; you hear of things happening like this all over the world but I never thought it would happen here. Along with the rest of the nation, my heart was broken. I am so incredibly proud of the outpouring of love, support and compassion that our country has shown. Our Prime Minister has been an absolute inspiration and I think all leaders across the world should take note.
"I chose to wear a headscarf to show solidarity and support for all Muslim women in our country that are too scared to wear their hijab in public out of fear of being identified as Muslim. I don't want them to feel scared. This is their home and they are us, just normal people trying to live their life. We are all human and all deserve to be treated as equals. I've had messages from all over the world thanking me for wearing a headscarf, telling me how much it means to them. I've seen nothing but love and support and that warms my heart. I will never forget that day, but it has only made us stronger as a nation. Love will always win."
Sophie Nicole from Auckland:
"The evening after the Christchurch terrorist attack my partner and I went to the beach, to remind ourselves why we live in beautiful New Zealand (also both immigrants from the U.K.). It was dark and the only light was from the moon. We saw a Muslim family walk past and I hoped that they chose to be there at that time and not because they felt they had to hide. I hoped with every ounce of my being that they felt safe and welcome in the moment, knowing full well that they probably didn't.
"For me, wearing a hijab was a way of showing unity, solidarity, tolerance and kindness. I'm proud to stand along side Muslim men and women as part of one race, the human race, as no one should feel afraid to be themselves. If by me wearing a hijab helped one person feel less afraid and helps them be free to express their culture or to be themselves then it is worth it 1000 times over."