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Life as an Eketahuna Muslim woman

Glynne MacLean asks for understanding when it comes to new gun regulations. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

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As a fifth-generation Tararua resident, Glynne MacLean understands the need for guns in rural communities, but as a Muslim woman she’s calling on farmers to show compassion and understanding when it comes to the new gun regulations.

“Because I have a rural background, I understand why a lot of families need guns,” she said.

“I understand as law-abiding people, there is the very natural response of ‘Why? It wasn’t me’. A lot of people are going to feel angered because they haven’t done anything wrong.”

The 55-year-old knows too well what it feels like to have restrictions put in place and be discriminated against, though.

MacLean converted to Islam almost 20 years ago after what she read in the Quran resonated with her.

After contracting a debilitating disease which makes it hard for her to walk without a cane, and which requires medication to prevent muscle spasms, she found freedom in wearing her hijab.

“Nobody notices my walking stick anymore,” she said. “It’s very freeing.”

But wearing a hijab has also come with some obstacles.

“Since 9/11 [the attack on New York’s World Trade Centre], there have been a lot of restrictions put on Muslims.

“My old bank in Masterton wouldn’t let me in if I have my walking stick and I’m wearing my headscarf. They said I could only have one or the other.”

When news of the Christchurch mosque attacks broke, she knew she would have friends and family directedly affected – the three-year-old boy who died, Mucad Ibrahim, was a friend of her nephew who was also at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

MacLean said she was very grateful to the Eketahuna community for their support.

“[Their] support has been amazing.

“Every face [at last week’s vigil] was a glimmer of hope in this immense darkness.”

In Islam, young children are not hindered from running around or talking during prayers and hearing some of the children during last week’s two minutes of silence filled her with optimism.

“It would really help if we take one for the team [with the new gun regulations],” she said.

“Terrorists, when they come to attack, they try to divide us through anger and mistrust.”


  1. Disgusting and disappointed to hear that the Masterton bank not only discriminated against this woman because of her religion, but also her disability. What disgraceful behavior.

  2. Disgusting to hear that the Masterton bank not only discriminated against this woman for her religion, but also her disability. What disgraceful behavior.

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