Sister of victim racially harassed in New Zealand shop
The sister of one of the victims of last year’s Christchurch shootings has filmed a racially charged encounter with a middle-aged couple inside a department store.
Aya Al-Umari, whose brother Hussain Al-Umari was killed in the mosque terror attacks, shared two videos on Twitter of the incident between herself and the couple in the Farmers store in Rangiora, New Zealand.
The man asks Aya Al-Umari and her mother if they were “born in New Zealand”.
His wife, labelled a “Karen” by Ms Al-Umari, continues to push her. “Born and bred?” she says.
Her husband is also seen telling Ms Al-Umari to turn off the camera, before threatening to sue her.
“I do not give you permission to film this and should this appear anywhere, I will sue the …” the man says, before his voice becomes muffled.
Towards the end of the video a store assistant can be seen asking the couple to leave the store.
“A triggered Karen and Terry that we met today. Never ever in my 23 years in New Zealand did I think I’d upload one of those Karen videos,” Ms Al-Umari wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread.
Ms Al-Umari says she was speaking to her mum in Arabic when the woman began staring at them.
“We were standing in the lipstick counter. As we are in a pandemic, mum does the sensible thing and tries the lipstick *on her sanitised hand* then from her hands applies it to lips,” she wrote.
“This was Karen’s moment, she says to her husband with the intention of us hearing it, ‘She shouldn’t be doing that?’ I asked her politely, ‘Excuse me, did you want to say something directly to us?’”
The encounter escalated when the woman said, “It’s okay, it won’t be long before they leave our country.”
Ms Al-Umari said the comment left her “gobsmacked”.
“We asked her what her problem was. Karen said in Europe we would be fined,” she wrote.
“No, Karen, even though my brother was murdered minding his own business praying in the mosque, and you get triggered by us speaking another language,” she wrote.
“I won’t go home, because Aotearoa NZ IS my home because I treat it like one.”
The two videos have received nearly 100,000 views, with many responses applauding Ms Al-Umari for how she handled the situation.
“I’m so sorry this happened to you Aya and I’m ashamed by their ignorance and actions,” wrote one user.
“Decent Kiwis, please always speak up, stand up, support and shield any of our Kiwi Muslims from being abused in this way. This is not OK. As-salamu alaykum.”
Another wrote, “I’m so glad that Farmers asked them to leave and not you. Please know that attitudes are changing and that most of us are so happy to have you here. We will drown out the racists and those who don’t welcome you.”
Mr Al-Umari was among the 51 killed and 40 injured in the Christchurch terrorist attack which took place on March 15, 2019.
The Australian terrorist responsible for the attack, Brenton Tarrant, was charged with 51 murders, 40 attempted murders, and engaging in a terrorist act and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on August 27 2020.
His punishment was the first of its kind to be handed down in New Zealand.