Christchurch – New Zealand’s female newsreaders and TV anchors wore Muslim Hijab and began broadcasts with “Salaam Alaikum” on Friday, along with female Police officers to express solidarity with the Muslim community in order to defeat the White-Supremacist ideology whose perpetrator killed 50 innocent Muslims last week.
Amanda Gillies, the AM Show news anchor said that she agonized over whether to cover her hair with a peach-colored scarf.
“There’s no way a week ago that I would have, because I would have thought it would have been deemed inappropriate, not right, that I was insulting the Muslim community,” Gillies said.
“I’ll be honest – I did angst over it today whether I should wear it, because I didn’t want to be inappropriate or offend the Muslim community. But I know that they are so welcoming and accepting of it, and I know that a lot of women will wear it today because it just shows that we are united – the solidarity is there, the love and support is there.”
Rafaela Stoakes, a 32-year-old mother of two, said wearing the Islamic head covering gave her an insight into what it means to stand out and feel part of the minority.
Female Police officers and non-Muslim volunteers who were directing the crowds near the mosque in Christchurch were all wearing headscarves. In fact, all of them wore if for the first time.
“It is amazing how different I felt for the short time I was out this morning,” Stoakes told AFP.
“There were a lot of confused looks and some slightly aggressive ones,” she said.
“I did feel a sense of pride to honour my Muslim friends, but I also felt very vulnerable and alone as I was the only person wearing one,” she added.
Kate Mills Workman, a 19-year-old student from Wellington, posted a selfie on Twitter wearing a green headscarf.
“If I could I would be attending the mosque and standing outside to show my support for my Muslim whanau (extended family in Maori language) but I’ve got lectures and I can’t really skip them,” she told media.
“Obviously this is all spurred on by the terrible tragedy in Christchurch, but it’s also a way of showing that any form of harassment or bigotry based on a symbol of religion is never okay,” she added.
“As New Zealanders, we have to make a really strong stand,” she enthused.
Friday’s memorial incident boosted motivation in the Muslim women of New Zealand to take pride in their Hijab, and a courage to stand against the odds, despite the Islamophobes continue to abhor them, but all regular citizens of New Zealand stand as an extended family to the Muslim women.