The Christchurch mosque shootings were gruesome attacks that have been condemned by the entire globe. Statesmen all over have come out and expressed their condolences against the terrorist attack, treating the attack for what it was- an estranged male committing an act of mass shootings. However, several people and the media, in an effort to perpetuate the narrative of victimization of a certain community have reacted in an strange and unexpected manner on this supposedly ‘Islamophobic’ attack. In view of this, they have decided to show their solidarity through the adoption of a very controversial practice, compulsory Hijab.
Thousands of New Zealander non Muslim women including news anchors, police officers and even the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have started wearing a hijab, as a form of support to the Muslim women. Moreover, the newspapers are running Arabic greetings on their front pages. By doing so, the media not only perpetuated a false narrative of collective guilt that the Islamists like Linda Sarsour have been trying to peddle hard but also furthered the victim mentality of a particular community. For one mentally deranged person’s act, the guilt was laid on the entire society and this lone act was falsely equated with the dangerous, much more organized and ideologically and theologically driven Islamist terrorism.
There are a number terror attacks globally. Even a cursory glance at the statistics reveals, a majority of those attacks have been perpetrated by Islamists. However, when the terror attack strikes a nation, people are not victimized on the basis of religion. Phrases such as “Hinduphobia” or “Christian Phobia” do not exist. The terror attack on humankind and the entire nation as a whole team up against the terror outfit. The survivors are not granted special privileges or special status. The country and its citizens are sympathised with as a whole. The country strengthens its defence and measures are taken to eradicate the terror outfits. Somehow, in this case of a rare occurrence of a Non-Islamist attack, the Muslims have victimised themselves, with media’s encouragement.
The absurdity of the situation is that in order to please the minority population, a practice as regressive as a hijab is being promoted. A hijab confers the idea that a woman is not worthy of respect unless she covers and hides herself from society, thus oppressing the women. When a woman finds herself choosing the hijab, she has submitted to these oppressive ideas and is now normalizing them by calling it “empowerment”. There are women in Islamist countries of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia who are suffering under the oppressive regime. Any forced clothing that is set to determine a woman’s chastity is a form of psychological violence and Shariah law seeks to implement exactly that.
There are 2 phenomenon known as cultural integration and cultural assimilation. Cultural assimilation is the process in which a minority group or culture comes to resemble those of a dominant group. Cultural integration is a form of cultural exchange in which one group assumes the beliefs, practices and rituals of another group without sacrificing the characteristics of its own culture. In most countries, the onus is on the existing cultures. Therefore, the outside entities are welcomed into the culture and are supposed to merge into and assimilate into the existing culture. They are most welcome to practice their own culture in a way so that it doesn’t interfere in or become a hindrance to the existing cultures.
New Zealand is a small country, with the Muslims constituting about 1 percent of the population. It is no secret that Muslims all over the world, wherever they have settled have this sporadic yet consistent demand for Shariah law implementation. Most non Islamic counties have a democratic form of government. A number of countries including UK, The Netherlands, America, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Greece have been affected by the Shariah law, or its insistent demand. New Zealanders believe that this happened in the European countries because of the sheer number of Muslim settlements and that 1 percent is too small to have any direct implications. However, this is far from reality. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has introduced a regulatory framework for halal meat. 99% of the non-pork meat has been slaughtered by a Muslim man and has had a Muslim prayer said over it. In addition to this, the Shariah law has been applied to other food products like bread and cereal along with many non-food products like shampoo. The products all bear a halal certified mark on them. MPI has already introduced a foreign legal framework into the country and the 99% non Muslim population is blissfully unaware of it.
There is no religion in the world that enjoys a freedom to this large extent when occupying a country in such a small minority. Not only are they blissfully living in the country but also, the laws are being modified to suit their religious needs. The whole idea of a Shariah law deviates from the main established principle of a democracy, which is the distinction between the state and the religion. With the commencement of the whole hijab movement, the New Zealand media is not only propagating an oppressive regime but is being oblivious to the psychological violence that the Muslim women actually suffer. Moreover, this is setting a dangerous precedent and creating a slippery slope in a democracy where culture assimilation and unity among the people should be the primary focus. As seen, the movement for Shariah law has already been gaining ground for quite some time and without even the conscious awareness of the native population, the state has already implemented several Shariah friendly laws. Now with the enthusiastic participation of media in such religious movement, the rift is bound to get bigger consequently creating an unstable environment prone to religious extremism.