Karori barber gives free cuts

Karori barber gives free cuts

Karori barber Hawkar Osman, 34, offered free haircuts to Muslims and newly arrived refugees. PHOTO: OLIVER GASKELL

A Karori barber shop gave free haircuts on Monday and Tuesday to Muslims and newly arrived refugees in the wake of last Friday’s shootings in Christchurch.

Hawkar Osman, 34, the owner of Koru Barbers in Marsden Village was keen to offer his services to the Muslim and refugee communities in response to the mosque shootings which claimed 50 lives.

Osman was inspired to contribute after being “amazed” by the support shown to the Muslim community.

“As much as it has been a horrible event I’m very glad to see the love and appreciation of each other despite our different cultural and religious backgrounds.”

He said that while many of those who came to his shop were still traumatised by the shootings the generosity they had been shown was helping.

“They were all amazed and very appreciative of what people are showing in terms of love and care.”

Osman was ‘in denial’ when he first heard the news on Friday. Having grown up in war-torn Northern Iraq he has seen his own fair share of atrocities.

“It took me back to those memories as a child of seeing bloodshed, seeing people killed in front of my eyes as a 10 year old.”

He said many people who escape situations such as his tried to leave their past behind, meaning traumatic events were all the more affecting.

“We kind of try to withdraw ourselves from it in a way, to not remember very much and we don’t really seem to talk about it.”

Osman arrived in New Zealand with his family 13 years ago and has spent the past seven years living in Karori, opening up a barber shop in 2015.

He said he has always felt safe here and is confident the ‘respect’ New Zealand has shown will help the Muslim community heal.

“I think that sense of unity, that sense of belonging and compassion is a good kick-start for a better future together.”

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Article by Oliver Gaskell

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