The March 15th mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand have renewed the dialogue about the real-world consequences of anti-Muslim rhetoric. And today, March 22nd, in an interfaith display of solidarity, non-Muslim New Zealand women are sharing pictures of themselves wearing headscarves, using the hashtag #HeadscarfForHarmony. According to Reuters, Auckland doctor Thaya Ashman had the idea for the hashtag after she read about a Muslim woman who was now afraid to go outside while wearing a hijab.
Ashman told the New Zealand Herald that she consulted with a Muslim friend about the idea and then ran it by the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand and the Muslim Association of New Zealand, both of which expressed support for the campaign. The doctor decided to use the term “headscarf” rather than “hijab” to acknowledge the cultural differences for non-Muslims.
Judging by the number of pictures tagged with #HeadscarfForHarmony, the idea was a huge success.
Of course, not every Muslim woman wears hijab, and some felt that the #HeadscarfForHarmony movement was not the most effective way to combat Islamophobia.
The #HeadscarfForHarmony movement also came about after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore a black headscarf in solidarity for the victims. Her actions were praised by many, and as NPR notes, she donned the headscarf again today at a Muslim call to prayer to honor the victims.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the Christchurch shootings, and we continue to support all those working to end hate in this world.