“Many of us lost everything, some even their lives & freedom because of hijab!”
In the wake of a mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques last week, a campaign encouraged New Zealanders of all genders to show their support for Muslims by donning headscarves commonly associated with the Islamic religion.
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The movement, Headscarf for Harmony, took place Friday. In a further display of solidarity, New Zealanders of all faiths observed the Muslim call to prayer through nationwide live broadcasts and near the mosque where 42 shooting victims lost their lives, the Associated Press reported.
— Gazza (@gazzafloyd) March 21, 2019
“It’s a simple invitation to the whole of New Zealand to show our support, but also to recognize our grief as New Zealanders,” Thaya Ashman, the movement’s organizer, said during an appearance Thursday on a New Zealand talk show.
Dear New Zealanders. As a Muslim from Malaysia, I’m overwhelmed. Never saw this kind of solidarity ever in my life – the vigils, the haka performances, the scarves. It’s just amazing and heartwarming.
— Asrul Muzaffar (@asrulmm) March 21, 2019
According to New Zealand outlet NewsHub, men or women may take part by wearing any color scarf on either their heads or shoulders. In various photos on social media, men are seen wearing the scarves on their shoulders.
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The campaign has spread beyond the island nation via social media, with non-Muslims from around the world sharing photographs of themselves in headscarves.
— tangata hīkoi (@tangatahikoi) March 21, 2019
But the reception hasn’t been universally positive. Quillette journalist Andy Ngo, a vocal critic of radical Islam, tweeted Friday that the campaign is a “propaganda win for Islamists who have convinced foolish people that showing support for Muslims means taking on conservative, political Islamic practices.”
This is a propaganda win for Islamists who have convinced foolish people that showing support for Muslims means taking on conservative, political Islamic practices. https://t.co/ZuagbPWcwX
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) March 22, 2019
Former Muslims also took issue with the Headscarf for Harmony movement. “Many of us lost everything, some even their lives & freedom because of hijab!” one ex-Muslim woman wrote in a tweet reacting to the campaign.
“You wear it one day like it’s just some piece of cloth and think its empowering when you’re only normalizing rape culture and oppression of millions of women all over the globe!”
Feminist journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh was similarly critical of the push, reacting to two New Zealand news broadcasters donning headscarves by tweeting that they were “wearing & flaunting oppressive tools of religious patriarchy.”
“This is nothing but a slide from the sublime to the ridiculous. It’s more of melodrama than sharing grief,” she wrote.
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