Free self-defence class for Muslim women

The Christchurch mosque attacks have sharply highlighted issues faced by New Zealand's Islam community.

Both before and after the shootings of March 15, Dunedin Muslim women reported on social media of people grabbing at their hijab, or head scarf.

Dunedin self-defence teacher Bell Murphy is now offering a free class specifically for women who wear head coverings.  

She hopes the course will give Muslim women defensive options.

"It's just a three-hour course I've organised in partnership with the Omani students association here on campus."

Murphy is an accredited self defence teacher and has taught in Dunedin for six years.

She is also a member of Wahine-Toa, a nation-wide network encouraging self defence among women.

Her initial introduction to the art of self defence was a short class she took while holidaying in Europe.

"It was only a couple of hours long, but a few of the basic messages and techniques I learned really helped to give me confidence for the rest of my time travelling."

Because of concerns about Islamophobia, she going to great lengths to maintain the privacy of those attending.

"The location will only be revealed to those who register closer to the time," she said.

The event is on the Eventbright website.