New Zealanders wear headscarves in display of solidarity after mosque attacks

PHOTO: Residents and schoolchildren wearing headscarves arrive for the funeral of those killed in New Zealands twin mosque attacks at Memorial Park cemetery in Christchurch, March 21, 2019.PlayAnthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH New Zealanders wear headscarves in solidarity after mosque attacks

New Zealanders of all religions donned headscarves on Friday in a symbol of unity as a mass funeral was held for dozens of victims of last week's mosque attacks.

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Worshipers were gunned down inside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch and then at a nearby mosque in the suburb of Linwood on March 15. At least 50 people died, and dozens more were injured.

The alleged gunman, identified as Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with one count of murder, but more murder charges are expected to be filed against the 28-year-old Australian.

PHOTO: Residents and schoolchildren wearing headscarves arrive for the funeral of those killed in New Zealands twin mosque attacks at Memorial Park cemetery in Christchurch, March 21, 2019. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
Residents and schoolchildren wearing headscarves arrive for the funeral of those killed in New Zealand's twin mosque attacks at Memorial Park cemetery in Christchurch, March 21, 2019.

The massacres sparked at least two movements to show support for New Zealand's Muslim community on Friday.

One of them, "Headscarf for Harmony," was organized by medical doctor Thaya Ashman of Auckland, who has spent time working in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She came up with the idea after seeing a Muslim woman on the news say she was now too afraid to go outside because she wears a hijab, one of the traditional coverings worn by Muslim women all over the world.

Ashman said there are no rules around the color or type of headscarf, nor how to wear it. Men also were encouraged to take part in the event, which runs all day, and to drape their scarves over their shoulders or wrap it around their wrist.

"This is a headscarf which both women and men throughout the world, have been wearing since time immemorial," Ashman told ABC News. "It's a simple invitation to the whole of New Zealand to show our support, but also to recognize our grief as New Zealanders."

PHOTO: Women wearing headscarves are invited into the grounds of the Hastings Mosque before prayers on March 22, 2019 in Hastings, New Zealand. Kerry Marshall/Getty Images
Women wearing headscarves are invited into the grounds of the Hastings Mosque before prayers on March 22, 2019 in Hastings, New Zealand.

"We have to change the rhetoric in our countries," she added, "to move towards each other, with gentle gestures and heartfelt kindness, to create the space to hear each other's stories, to discover our similarities, build relationship, make our streets safe for each other and deliberately and determinedly choose to live in harmony."

Another similar movement taking place Friday, "Scarves in Solidarity," also signaled to Muslims that they are not alone.

"I just thought, why don't we all wear a scarf on Friday, a week on from this tragedy, and walk alongside our Muslim sisters as a mark of respect," organizer Anna Thomas told ABC News. "Women, especially those who wear the hijab, are fairly regularly fearful when they go out in the streets, and what a better way to show support and walk alongside them than to wear one."

PHOTO: Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 22, 2019. Jorge Sil/Reuters
Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 22, 2019.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was praised for wearing a black headscarf in public appearances in the wake of the deadliest terror attack in the country's history. On Thursday, Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons, such as the ones used in the March 15 shootings.

The Islamic call to prayer was broadcast across New Zealand's television and radio airwaves early Friday afternoon, followed by two minutes of silence, as thousands of people gathered for vigils ahead of a mass funeral for 26 of the victims at a Muslim cemetery in Christchurch.

"New Zealand mourns with you," Ardern said to a crowd gathered near the Al Noor mosque. "We are one."