Solidarity Hijabs — Not the Right Symbol

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News Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives for prayers in solidarity with the Muslim community after the massacre 50 worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)
News Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives for prayers in solidarity with the Muslim community after the massacre of 50 worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Clarion’s Meira Svirsky looks at the phenomenon of solidarity hijabs…

The outpouring of sympathy for the New Zealand Muslim community in their devastating loss is a testament to the West and its core values of peace, tolerance and freedom of religion.

Despite being hounded for years with the scourge of Islamist terrorism, save the remarks of one Australian politician, mainstream reaction was one of appropriate feelings of sadness over the loss of so many loved ones and horror that a member of our common human race could perpetrate such a calculated and cold-blooded massacre.

Solidarity in the face of such unadulterated evil reminds us that, as people, our commonality has more manifestations than our differences.

Yet something less functional was at play in the way that many chose to express their solidarity with the Muslim community of New Zealand – the donning of hijabs by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as well as New Zealand policewomen and ordinary female citizens.

On the one hand, it is understandable as the hijab is a recognizable Muslim symbol. What better way to instantly and conclusively show one’s true sympathy for the slaughter of so many people who were killed simply because they were Muslims?

Yet, the hijab is also a significant sign of oppression – specifically Islam’s past and current subjugation of women through sharia law to the status of second-class citizens. It has long been used by Islamists who, in their pursuit of world domination, are particularly misogynistic and use veiling of women to relegate women to the ranks of sex objects to be used and abused.

As Muslim reformer Asra Nomani commented on Twitter:

This sentiment was echoed by those replying to Nomani’s tweet, such as the following from a young Iranian woman:

In sum, other followers expressed these sentiments with eloquence:




Hijab, Female Oppression and the Left 

Feminism, Hijabs and Hypocrisy 

World Hijab Day and the Salem Witch Trials

Hijab – A Culture of Discrimination


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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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