Doctor Shows Solidarity With Muslims Through #HeadscarfForHarmony

After the Christchurch terror attack, this New Zealand doctor encouraged women of all faiths to show support for Muslims with the #HeadscarfForHarmony campaign.

In March 2019 a gunman made his way into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people. Soon after women across the country are donning a headscarf similar to a traditional hijab worn by Muslim women to show their solidarity for the victims and the religion.

Wearing a hijab in the faith is an Islamic tradition that many Muslim women decide willingly to practice. In most cultural perceptions it makes Muslim women more recognizable and serves as a symbol of identity. Similar to clothing worn by nuns and Orthodox Jewish women, a hijab symbolizes Islamic women's devotion to God and commitment to their religion.

For non-Muslim women, wearing a headscarf to remember fallen fellow residents symbolizes love, strength and unity in a dark hour. Several New Zealand women spoke to CNN about why they decided to take part in the movement.

"This is really about the rights to all the upholds and say we as New Zealand is upholding the rights to choose to wear a headscarf — should a Muslim woman wish to choose to wear one — and the right for her to feel safe in her own country." - Dr. Thaya Ashman, GP in Auckland, NZ.

Not everyone is on board with the movement. The "headscarf for harmony" hashtag campaign is facing backlash on social media from people who consider the hijab to be a sign of female oppression. Many opposers think non-Muslims should show their unity by expressing their sympathy and having a moment of silence. While others asked "Why Muslims don't take off their hijabs to show support for victims of other religions?" (Muslim women can't take off their hijabs in front of strange men, as it contradicts the practice of wearing it.)

Dr. Ashman counters, "It's not a hijab, it is a headscarf. Headscarf being worn by Westerners and by women and men since time immemorial."