The sister of a Christchurch mosque massacre victim has been subjected to a racist rant in a shop by a ‘Karen’ who was unhappy to hear her speak Arabic.
Aya Al-Umari, the sibling of Hussain Al-Umari who was murdered in the March 2019 mosque attack, shared two videos on Twitter of her being verbally abused at Rangiora Farmers market on Monday.
Ms Al-Umari, who has lived in NZ for 23 years, said she was discussing a shade of lipstick with her mother in Arabic when she noticed an older lady ‘giving her looks’.
‘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 her lips,’ she wrote.
Aya Al-Umari, the sister of Christchurch massacre victim Hussain Al-Umari (pictured together) has shared videos of her and her mother being racially attacked by a woman at at Rangiora Farmers on Monday
‘This was Karen’s moment, she says to her husband with the intention of us hearing it “she shouldn’t be doing that”.’
Ms Al-Umari claimed she asked her if she would wished to say something to them directly, but the woman ignored her then said to her husband, ‘It’s okay, it won’t be long before they leave our country’.
‘I had about 30 seconds to analyse whether I shrug it off or call it out. I chose the latter. We asked her what her problem was and that’s when asked me if I was born and bred New Zealander,’ Ms Al-Umari wrote.
Ms Al-Umari then pulled out her phone to start filming the interaction.
‘Are you born and bred?’ the woman says.
‘Does it matter if I’m a New Zealander?’ Ms Al-Umari questions.
The husband then becomes irate and asks why she is filming.
‘To document,’ Ms Al-Umari replies.
The woman (pictured) heard Ms Al-Umari and her mother discussing a lipstick in Arabic then began questioning them over whether they were ‘born and bred in New Zealand’. Her husband (right) also got involved
‘You’re actually hindering my privacy,’ the woman says, as her husband requests for the camera to be turned off.
‘You should stop talking,’ the mother and daughter say.
‘I was just asking if you were born here,’ the woman replies.
‘Stop talking. You are white supremacy,’ the Al-Umaris respond, prompting the woman to say ‘oh here we go’ before walking off laughing.
The husband tells the women he does not give them permission to film and will sue them if the footage goes public.
A staff member then approached the man and asks him to leave the store.
Ms Al-Umari, who has lived in NZ for 23 years, said she was discussing a shade of lipstick with her mother in Arabic when she noticed an older lady ‘giving her looks’
Ms Al-Umari asked her if she would wished to say something to them directly, but the woman ignored her then said to her husband, ‘It’s okay, it won’t be long before they leave our country’
A second video shows the woman filming the women as they go to leave the store, before muttering ‘going home overseas would be a good idea’.
Ms Al-Umari’s mother approaches the woman to ask why she said that, to which the woman responds ‘I said going home would be a good idea’.
She then walks past them again and leans in to say ‘I’m very proud of New Zealand. I’m born and bred here’.
What is a ‘Karen’?
A ‘Karen’ is a newly-emerged term for a self-righteous woman, usually middle-aged, who tells people how to do their jobs, asserts their rights and complains to the manager.
The origins of the term are unclear, however it quickly became popular in meme culture on internet forums such as Reddit to describe problematic women.
A Karen meme is often combined with the quote: ‘Can I speak to the manager?’
It is also associated with anti-vaccination activists who favour unproven essential oils to medical science.
The ‘Karen’ was also associated with a side-swept bob haircut that is long at the front and short at the back.
The women reply ‘ok Karen’ as the woman walks off.
The clips have racked up more than 40,000 views, with many appalled by the behaviour.
‘This is such an abhorrent act. Racist rant so blatant so outrageous. Kudos to the the Farmers employee, who was quick to take the right action. Good job Aya, stay strong. May will get inspired from your courage to defend your freedom,’ one man said.
‘Great response Aya. We have to call these things out every time they happen to effect change. Can’t imagine what goes on in their tiny brains to think speaking to anyone like this is ok,’ another added.
Hussain Al-Umari was one of 51 victims of the March 2019 Christchurch mosque massacres.
Neo-Nazi gunman Brenton Tarrant first entered the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers were beginning and opened fire before driving to Linwood Mosque on the other side of the city where he continued shooting.
Tarrant, a white supremacist originally from Australia, was arrested a short time later.
He pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on August 27 this year.