New Zealand women don headscarves to support Muslims after shootings
Updated : 2019-03-22 12:46:59
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