Australian group don hijab for fellow Muslims
A group of non-Muslim Australian women attended an Islamic festival wearing hijab and gave flowers to Muslims on Eid
A group of non-Muslim Australian women organized a show of support with the Islamic community in Canberra earlier this week by putting on the Islamic headscarf and offering flowers to Muslims celebrating the feast of Eid al-Adha.
In a bid to send a “message of love and solidarity,” some 10 women attended an Islamic festival in the Australian capital to give away flowers to feasting Muslims, The Canberra Times reported.
The event organizers said that they wanted their “fellow Canberran Muslims” not to feel left out amid an anti-Islamic rhetoric that has recently surfaced in the country.
"We told them we were sorry you've been treated so badly in the media and we wanted to say we stand with you in solidarity and we want to share love instead of hate," said Annabelle Lee, a 26-year-old who helped organize the event.
She said some Muslims had been cautious at first but then welcomed the gesture.
"And when they heard that, many of them wanted to give us a hug, many smiled and some were brought to tears," she added.
Annabelle Lee said they gave flowers to women, children and men attending Eid morning prayers at the AIS Stadium in Bruce. Some men asked to take flowers for their wives at home.
Islamic Society of Belconnen vice-president Hassan Warsi said members of Canberra’s Muslim community were “touched” by this gesture.
"They had people coming forward and putting a [hand] on their shoulder, saying 'Look, we're here with you. We know you guys are good people like us and we are all in a community, caring and sharing and it should be an exception," he said.
"It was obviously a very good feeling and people were touched by that."
The gesture comes at a time when tensions between Australia’s Muslim community and its politicians have escalated over fears of attacks by radicalized Muslims.
Australian Muslims have reportedly said that their community is being unfairly targeted following a series of security-related raids.
Australia recently began flying combat operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the two countries that they operate in, Iraq and Syria.