In the wake of the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch last week, in which 50 people were killed, New Zealand has acted to embrace its Muslim community.
Muslims comprise only 1 percent of the 4.8-million-strong population. Those killed in last Friday’s attacks came from several countries, including immigrants from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some were refugees from Syria, Somalia and the Palestinian territories.
Amid soul-searching about how this attack could have happened in a country that prides itself on being peaceful and celebrates its geographic isolation, many New Zealanders have sought to embrace the Muslim community this week.
These are the some of the ways.
1. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore hijab.
2. Many other New Zealand women joined in, including police officers, security guards, television presenters and nurses.
3. The call to prayer rang out on national television and radio at 1:30 p.m. Friday, the time of the attack the week before.
4. Newspapers ran Arabic greetings on their front pages and explained Muslim rituals surrounding praying and funerals.
5. News readers started their bulletins with the Arabic greeting “as-salamu alaykum” or “peace be upon you.”
Parliamentary Speaker Trevor Mallard and, yes, Ardern, also offered the greeting in Arabic.