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New Zealand women don headscarves to support Muslims after shootings

Updated : March 22, 2019 12:46 PM IST

The Muslim call to prayer sounded out over Christchurch and around New Zealand on Friday, as thousands gathered to remember the 50 people killed by a lone gunman at two mosques a week ago.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined about 20,000 people standing quietly at Hagley Park, in front of the Al Noor mosque where most of the victims were killed during Friday prayers last week.

"New Zealand mourns with you. We are one," she said in a short speech, followed by two minutes of silence.

Most victims of New Zealand's worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Women all over New Zealand put on headscarves on Friday to show solidarity with Muslims.

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.

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.

New Zealand Prime Minister 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 police officer kept guard at a Christchurch cemetery, where shooting victims were buried on Thursday, with a scarf over her head and an automatic weapon in her hands

People react before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
People react before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
People perform the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
People perform the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A general view during Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A general view during Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
People attend Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
People attend Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
An imam leads a Friday prayer at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
An imam leads a Friday prayer at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A policewoman is seen as people attend the burial ceremony of a victim of the mosque attacks, at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
A policewoman is seen as people attend the burial ceremony of a victim of the mosque attacks, at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women attend a vigil for the victims of the mosque attacks during an ecumenical celebration in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women attend a vigil for the victims of the mosque attacks during an ecumenical celebration in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women react outside of Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Women react outside of Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A policeman lays flowers outside of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A policeman lays flowers outside of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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
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
Women wearing headscarves as a tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Women wearing headscarves as a tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A woman wearing a headscarf as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A woman wearing a headscarf as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Robyn Molony (R), 65, wears a headscarf with her friends as they take their regular walk opposite Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Westbrook
Robyn Molony (R), 65, wears a headscarf with her friends as they take their regular walk opposite Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Westbrook
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