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New Zealand Women Wore Headscarves To Support The Muslim Community

A doctor in Auckland, Thaya Ashman, came up with the Headscarf for Harmony idea after hearing that a woman had been too scared to go out in public in hijab.

Posted on March 22, 2019, at 12:37 p.m. ET

On the one-week anniversary of the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 50 people, non-Muslim New Zealand women wore headscarves on Friday as a show of support for the Muslim community.

A doctor in Auckland, Thaya Ashman, came up with the Headscarf for Harmony idea after hearing that a woman had been too scared to go out in public in hijab, the religious headscarf worn by Muslim women.

β€œI wanted to say: β€˜We are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you,’” she told Reuters.

Ashman spoke with the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand and the New Zealand Muslim Association to get their support before going public with the plan. She told NZ Herald that the movement was calling it a headscarf rather than a hijab to acknowledge the cultural difference for non-Muslims.

New Zealanders posted selfies of themselves wearing headscarves on Twitter with the hashtags #HeadscarfForHarmony and #ScarvesForSolidarity.

#HeadScarfforHarmony We support our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Very proud of many of my staff today at #WorldwideSchoolofEnglish #scarvesinsolidarity #notmynz wearing Hijab in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters

"Wearing a headscarf to uni as a show of support and solidarity with the many Muslim women who are routinely harassed for the act of following their faith," posted one woman.

Wearing a headscarf to uni as a show of support and solidarity with the many Muslim women who are routinely harassed for the act of following their faith. I will work hard to help raise up your voices in any way I can #HeadScarfforHarmony #scarvesinsolidarity #TheyAreUs

A non-Muslim woman noted she was "nervous" to wear a headscarf in public but was doing it out of "arohanui", a Maori word meaning deep love and affection.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous stepping out like this today. But I am doing it out of #arohanui. #HeadScarfforHarmony #KiaKahaChristchurch

Another said she was wearing hers out of "tautoko" to the Muslim community, a Maori word meaning support.

Morena! Today will be rough for a lot of our Muslims friends/whanau. I made the decision to tautoko our Muslim community by wearing a #headscarfforharmony It's a very small gesture, but within my capabilities and the least I can do. Kia pai to ra, kia kaha, arohanui!!

My photo isn't very good but there was a wonderful turn out at the vigil for Christchurch this evening! And I haven't got a clue how to properly put on a headscarf but I tried ^^; #HeadScarfforHarmony

Thousands gathered for Friday prayers and a memorial service at Hagley Park, in the center of Christchurch, just near the Al Noor mosque. Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, attended the prayer service and wore a headscarf.

Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images

Children attending the vigil also wore headscarves in support.

Cam Mclaren / Getty Images

Reporters on New Zealand television also wore headscarves.

Television news in New Zealand tonight πŸ‡³πŸ‡Ώ πŸ§• πŸ“Ί

While some Muslims criticized people wearing the headscarves as anti-feminist, others thanked the community for its public solidarity.

Thanks to fellow new zealanders for all of your support. What've you did was really heart warming & we appreciate it . πŸ’“ #scarvesinsolidarity

Dear New Zealanders Aotearoa - Being a Muslim, I’m overwhelmed. I have never seen this kind of solidarity in my entire life - The vigils, The Haka performances, The scarves. It’s just amazing and heartwarming. Thank you. #HeadscarfForHarmony #ScarvesInSolidarity #NewZealand

One man posted a photo of women he'd stopped and thanked for their support.

1/2 I stopped by to thank Michele and Sylvia for their gesture and to assure them it looks beautiful and not disrespectful (for some reason people are worrying about that πŸ˜‚) #HeadScarfforHarmony

The president of the New Zealand Muslim Association Ikhlaq Kashkari told Newsweek the movement was a "wonderful idea."

"Mere words cannot express how grateful and thankful we are for all of the outpourings of love, compassion and support we have had since the atrocities suffered in Christchurch last week," said Kashkari.

CORRECTION

Jacinda Ardern's name was misspelled in a previous version of this post.

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