Jacinda Ardern dons hijab as she fronts Islamic Women's Council conference

Author
Jake McKee - NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Saturday, 24 August 2019, 11:20AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern donned a hijab at the Islamic Women's Council national conference. Photo / Michael Craig
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern donned a hijab at the Islamic Women's Council national conference. Photo / Michael Craig

The March 15 mosque attacks are at the forefront of the Islamic Women's Council national conference.

This morning's session at the Zayed College for Girls in Auckland's Mangere, opened with a reflection on the tough year for the Islamic community.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the crowd of about 250 the past months have been exhausting - because the community's still picking up the pieces five months on.

The March 15 mosque attacks are at the forefront of the conference. Photo / Michael CraigThe March 15 mosque attacks are at the forefront of the conference. Photo / Michael Craig

She promised to help workshop aspiring Muslim leaders in politics.

Responding to a question about how the Muslim community can rise to leadership positions, Ardern said she'd like to unite them with local and central government. She asked the conference who was interested - and an uproar of applause broke out.

This morning's session was held at the Zayed College for Girls in Auckland's Mangere. Photo / SuppliedThis morning's session was held at the Zayed College for Girls in Auckland's Mangere. Photo / Supplied

"I will be there and we can have this conversation, that would be great. So let's be practical and start politics bootcamp."

A series of workshops today will focus on topics like religion, health, and safety on Facebook.

Ardern donned a cream-coloured hijab as she spoke to the crowd.

She wore a headscarf after the attacks in March when she visited members of the Muslim community in Christchurch.

While it was praised around the world, it wasn't unanimous.

A Muslim women's rights advocate in Malaysia told the Thompson Reuters Foundation: "I wish she hadn't (wore it)"... She is not a Muslim and not from a Muslim majority country."

Ardern told the crowd the past months have been exhausting. Photo / Michael CraigArdern told the crowd the past months have been exhausting. Photo / Michael Craig

Former Housewives of Auckland reality TV star Gilda Kirkpatrick railed on Twitter against it.

Fifty-one people died and 49 were injured in the attacks which began at the Al Noor Mosque in the Christchurch suburb of Riccarton and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre.

The alleged gunman live-streamed the first attack.

A member of the crowd takes the Prime Minister's photograph. photo / Michael CraigA member of the crowd takes the Prime Minister's photograph. Photo / Michael Craig
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