Taranaki woman converts to Islam

Interesting piece in the Taranaki Daily News by Helen Harvey.  I Kiwi woman converts to Islam and shares the prejudice that she faces.

A Taranaki woman who has recently converted to Islam says she has been spat on, told to go back where she came from and, during a job interview, told to take off her hijab.

Cherie French did her shahada to convert to Islam last year and now wears a headcovering. A person becomes a Muslim by reciting the Shahada Islamic creed in Arabic.

She had previously worked in retail and last week she went for a job interview at Trick or Treat on Devon St, she said.

“I didn’t say anything about me being Muslim because it was pretty obvious. [The owner] said, can you take that off? It’s not allowed in the shop. I said it was because of my religion. She said, we have a policy there is no hats or sunglasses in the store.”

If you take on a religion that brings with it set of practices that are by and large foreign to the country you were born in, how do you expect people to react?  

French said the interview experience was “horrible”.

“I was quite surprised how much it did upset me. I don’t want to go anywhere now. I was angry as well, she was judging me just because of what I am wearing.”

She admits she took off her hijab when asked, because she really wanted the job. But she then regretted her action and put it back on before she left, she said.

After French told Kemp she was Muslim, she was told she couldn’t wear her hijab in the shop if she got the job, French said.

Life is full of choices, and certain choices come with consequences.

French, who was born in New Plymouth, has noticed an increase in negative comments in the 10 months she has been wearing the hijab, and more so in the wake of events last week in France.

She has been spat on while walking in the New Plymouth CBD and been given a shove on more than one occasion.

And when she was trying to pay for her groceries at a New Plymouth supermarket, she told the woman at the checkout she wanted to pay with both cash and her card.

She said she was told if she couldn’t make up her mind, to go back to her own country.

“I told her I was born here in New Plymouth. You are judging me because of what I’m wearing.”

French attended the mosque for a few years before she did her shahada, she said. And it’s been hard telling her Catholic and Anglican family.

Things have been a bit strained, but “they’ll get over it, eventually”.

Although I don’t condone the spitting, I think the answer lies in her own reaction:  She’ll get over it, eventually.

Everyone else is supposed to bend because she made a change in her life?  Get knotted.  And if you truly believe Allah is the the only true prophet and Islam the way to live your life, then this is part of the path he has chosen for you.  Harden up, stop running to the paper to tell tales of good Kiwi business people that are allowed to run their shops however they like, and if you are determined to be the wolf among the sheep, then accept that as the life you have chosen.


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  • MAWG

    I wonder why the interviewer didn’t ask her what her opinion was of the recent events in France, and what she thinks of the actions of ISIL, and Boko Haram?

    • Cadwallader

      Well should could ask Little Angry to intervene as her local MP, oops he isn’t her local MP.

      • Rodger T

        Now that`s a 3rd degree burn : )

  • Toasty

    She may be a bit simple. I often wonder why a woman would convert or subscribe to a religion or organisation that would relegate them to an inferior position.

    • Rocket

      a bit simple – make up your own mind

      • intelligentes candida diva

        Is that her?

        • Cadwallader

          Can’t be she hasn’t got a beard.

        • sandalwood789

          If it is, that photo doesn’t exactly scream “brimming with intelligence”…..

          If I were to play the “match a photo to an animal” game I would match that photo with a sheep.

        • Rocket

          Hacked from the MSM = must be genuine, don’t you think?

    • The Accountant

      Exactly, she is now one half of what she used to be. In a Sharia court, a woman is worth half a man.

  • caochladh

    Who in their right mind would hire anyone stupid enough to do this in the first place.

  • Garbageman

    Just because it needs re-said
    Her chances of now getting a job probably zilch, what an idiot

    • intelligentes candida diva

      Oh so brilliant please pass that on to the Taranaki Anglican Catholic come Muslim woman it will assist her to ‘get over it…eventually’

    • The Accountant

      I think Stephen Fry is one clever bugger. Love his books.

      • Primrose

        and his TV programs

    • dgrogan

      Yep. On a par with “You hurt her/his/my feelings”.

  • Kelvin

    If she was a Muslim and became a Christian, she would be killed by her family.

  • sandalwood789

    The hijab and other Muslim clothing have only one purpose when worn in the West – to *intimidate*.

    It serves the same purpose as a gang patch. The hijab is a sign of defiance to the locals.
    It says “I am “the other”. I am not one of you.”

    • caochladh

      And here’s me thinking for all those years that it was because the men had been forced to marry a really ugly old bird and they were too embarrassed for anyone else to see her ;-)

  • sandalwood789

    “You are judging me because of what I’m wearing.”

    I don’t think that is true at all.

    The interviewer was judging her because of *what she represents*.
    The ideology.

    If you choose to become a Muslim, you have joined Islam and Islam has a container-ship-load of “baggage”.

    She made the choice. Too late now to complain about the baggage.

    • abbaby

      yes, no going back … or else …

  • Rodger T

    I`m going with a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic ,she was trying for a job at shop that sells “adult products”.

    About Us

    We have an extensive range of wedding, anniversary and christening gifts. We have the best range of 21st keys in New Plymouth. We have an excellent range of birthday gifts; we carry a large variety of helium balloons & cards for any occasion. We have lots of Dragons, Fairies, and Witches & Wizards. We have a large rage of licensed products Jack Daniels, Jim Bean, Holden, Ford, Betty Boop, Playboy and many more.

    Top sellers of incenses, candles & oil burners also a full range of “Kama” the Indian love oils & creams. We have a large range of beautiful necklaces, rings, bracelets wallets & card holders. Jewellery holders& boxes are just some of the lovely gifts for your special mums or grandmas.

    We are Professional body piercers, from your ears to your navel. We specialise in piercing children’s ears under 8 years of age. From smoke tins to lighters we also have a large range in our R18 cabinets. An elite collection of adult novelty toys to let your mind run wild.

    For something little for a new born to a special present for 100+ we have a gift for everyone at Trick of Treat.

    • Cadwallader

      If this is actually a sex-toy shop how would she cope selling sex-toys which are designed primarily for homosexuals? Would she refuse to serve them? Take their names for future attention from the local Imam? Behead them then and there?

    • sandalwood789

      Jack Daniels. Jim Beam. Adult products. Dragons, fairies, witches.
      Why would a Muslim seek a job at a place like that?

      • tinfoilhatguy

        I imagine that at some point the shop would have to remove the products so that she wasn’t offended.

        • Rodger T

          I`m guessing their sales of French ticklers might plummet.

      • Rodger T

        Exactly,anywhere in the Islamic world at best you would get a flogging ,at worst a stoning or beheading for anything related to sex or witchcraft.

      • mommadog

        After reading this thread I now suspect she needed to get that dreaded Winz form signed – you know the one that potential employers are asked to sign to say you were really looking for a job – like, you want to work. Not! Double strike now being able to tell Winz she cant get a job because she is being discriminated against.

        • sandalwood789

          I suspect you’re “right on the button” there.

          Person thinks – “I don’t want to work but I need to get this form signed. What can I do to almost guarantee that I won’t get a job?”

          Looks like we know the rest.

        • williamabong

          And WINZ should be saying to her if she is going to wear that crap on your head you don’t get a bean, now sod off.

          • Reaper

            As they should be doing with people who get facial tattoos for instance. Having deliberately made themselves virtually unemployable, they should not qualify for a benefit.

            Winz will not tell them to sod off however, they will give them a benefit for the rest of their lives. Sigh.

          • OneTrack

            And Boxer gets to pay for it. High five. Just work harder.

      • williamabong

        Because she is an idiot, if you want to wear a garment like this, considered provocative by most at the moment, and the get a reaction from people in the streets you’re a halfwit, a title confirmed by her squawking off to the papers.
        I wouldn’t employ you either, and yes, it’s because of the rag on your head, get over it.

      • OneTrack

        So she then say the products “offended” her religion and the shop must stop selling those products? Or someone else would have to handle those sales?

        Of course the owner should have employed her – what could have gone wrong?

    • Cowgirl

      ‘”It wasn’t until later she said ‘by the way I’m Muslim.’ I had no idea. We sell adult product and celebrate halloween.”

      Kemp said the scarf looked like something she would wear if she was having a bad hair day.’

      Lol even the lady in the store thinks it’s incongruous for her to apply there, and if she was prepared to take off the hijab because she “really wanted the job”, then how much of a ‘true’ Muslim is she?

  • tinfoilhatguy

    Give me strength. She’s having a moan about feeling like she’s being picked on by kiwis. Alright then, you’re entitled to a whinge Cherie – but your perception is your reality. If you think you’re being looked at strangely or you don’t, it’s your call..

    Meanwhile in the real world people have real problems to deal with, like being shot at by muslims Belgium and France.

    Get over yourself Cherie.

  • Cowgirl

    I suspect she’s done it to get attention more than anything, knowing full well she won’t have to give up any of the freedoms she is used to as a NZer.

    • Rodger T

      We only have her word for it that she has been spat at and jostled,I mean it is not likely a journalist would embellish a story now, is it??

      • Cowgirl

        I call bull pucky on many of her claims – the supermarket one particularly. I find it hard to believe that a checkout operator said that to her, so was it one of the other customers? Maybe they were just annoyed that she was holding up the queue with her request.

    • Garbageman

      As upstanding citizens we should start a Give a Little page and procure a ticket to her favorite destination and then wait 5 minutes to see just how much she loves her new found religion

  • Drhill

    Of course people would judge you by what you are wearing – what you wear represents your religion, and when part of your religion is killing people you have to be expected to be treated differently.

    • Ilovelife

      I judge gang members by their patches.

      • willtin

        It’s a boy scouts thing

      • Harvey Wallbanger

        Clothes are a visual signal on how you want others to treat you… whether the gang patch, the Judges wig. We’re visual animals with a social structure that depends on being able to read the signs.

    • mommadog

      Agree. Of course we are judged by what we wear. If she had turned up for that job wearing only a bikini she would have also been told it wasn’t appropriate for working in a retail store. However a bikini might be appropriate for selling ice-creams at a beach. She needs to go somewhere where her dress is appreciated. I suggest at present in NZ a job at a university or tech or girls high school with international students as more and more are coming and wearing the garb.

      • Cadwallader

        Not to forget Laura McQuillan turning up in a courthouse in disco pants.

      • Wallace Westland

        Bikini’s aren’t appropriate for a retail shop? Bugger!
        That’s it…not going shopping anymore.

  • Max

    But she does have to have proof before she can whine to the authorities and demand monetary compensation for being discriminated against. So the more she can get her name in lights the better her chances of success.

  • Mine it,Drill it,Sell it.

    I am sorry but this sounds like some type of rort to get around WINZ rules so as to NOT get employed.

    Cow4me could give her a job in the cow shed for a week or two were she will get shoved around and crapped on from the heard twice a day.She already has the head gear.

  • edee

    It would be interesting to know why she converted to islam, you would think that would one of the first questions asked. The story is lightweight and pathetic.

    “French said the interview experience was “horrible”.
    “I was quite surprised how much it did upset me. I don’t want to go anywhere now”.

    So Cherie, you don’t want to go anywhere now …. well whose fault is that? It seems that since you converted, your life is just one negative thing after another. You can change it and you know just what to do to make those negative things go away. Its called freedom of choice.

    • tinfoilhatguy

      Yes I imagine the interview was horrible. Almost as bad as being called an apostate, then buried up to your waist and pelted with rocks by a mob until you’re dead. As they do in Muslim countries when you convert. Then she’d really have something to complain about….

    • InnerCityDweller

      “I don’t want to go anywhere now”. other than on the benefit of course. nice excuse…

      EDIT: apologies, just noticed Mi,Di,Si had the same thought

      • edee

        That may well have been the prime objective from the start of the conversion.

  • Eiselmann

    Kiwi woman converts to Islam and some people are so mean, ‘oh life is tough, woe is me’….meanwhile in Afghanistan a woman converts to Christianity and gets a job as a target……….somehow I’m struggling to feel much sympathy here for my fellow kiwi.

  • Cadwallader

    Maybe she attended a Labour campaign meeting in New Plymouth last year and thought to herself:”I would sooner convert to Islam than vote for Little Angry!” So she did. To be honest; I’d do that too.

    • InnerCityDweller

      whoa, really? is there a third option? please?

  • Kevin

    She must be braindead if she purposefully chose to follow the world’s dumbest religion ,,,

    • hookerphil


    • I.M Bach

      Is it even a religion? More of an ideology for male sadists and pedo’s.

  • tjb

    I have no sympathy for her.

    • I.M Bach

      Me neither. Try heading off to Islam-land, dressing like a bishop and looking for a job.

  • sandalwood789

    I just wonder if this is all a “setup”, either by the MSM or the Muslim community.

    You know the kind of thing. Islamic terrorist attack overseas, MSM thinks “gee, it must be time for a Muslim-playing-the-victim-card story…..”

    The Muslim community themselves have been known to play the victim card too (even to the extent of graffiti-ing a mosque).

    I may be wrong and I may be reading too much into it but I do wonder if one of those scenarios is true.

  • terrynaki

    So she wants to be a Muslim,hope she likes walking to work,her young 9 yr old daughter getting married off,her son flogged for being an infidel.
    If and when this country bends to her will then I guess we can truly say its been a hell of a ride.

    • kayaker

      Worse if her son turns out to be gay.

  • edee

    I have been thinking about this situation and wondering if I had a small shop and was wanting to hire some help, would I give this woman a job. The answer …. Hell No!

    • Cadwallader

      You might do if you were dealing in goats and brides (same thing?)

      • Fat Sally

        That shop would have to be called “Kids and Nags”

      • edee

        Thank the Lord I will never be in that position to find out.

        • Cadwallader

          Allah may have opposing plans for you?

          • edee

            If allah exists then he will find some resistance. Unlike some, I am not easily swayed. At my age even I don’t have any plans for me ;o)

  • Mike K

    Has been a Muslim for just on a year and is already “angry”.

  • andrewo

    Cherie French – is it only me that sees the irony?

  • Dumrse

    It’s time to crowd source her airfare so as she can head off overseas and complete her conversion to her new found religion. None of this tokenism, get your butt out here and finish the job off.

  • Catriona

    I’m sure if she has a genuine grievance with the Supermarket checkout operator, she should take that up with the Supermarket owner. If I was the business owner I wouldn’t be too happy if one of my staff spoke to a customer like that regardless of whether they were Muslim or not.

    • Cadwallader

      Agree. There are manners and there are customs. I notice as I get older that the young supermarket staff are less interested in me as a customer than when I was of a similar age. Her task was to question the supermarket’s senior staff rather than to bellyache to the msm. As far as the job application was concerned…them’s the breaks!

  • FredFrog

    “I was quite surprised how much it did upset me. I don’t want to go anywhere now.”

    Now you know why the menfolk of your backward religion want you to wear that kind of tat. It keeps you in the house, breeding cannon fodder for the jihad.

  • HSV325

    This woman has far too much time on her hands. It reminds of a book I read at high school, Black Like Me.

    • James Howlett

      Really? Might be worth going back for a re-read now there’s a few years since high school. The BLM author purposefully put himself in that situation as a way of learning and sharing experiences with the rest of us. Worth noting that Blacks in the US weren’t responsible for broadcasting beheadings of whites, nor suggesting that whites be wiped out and only blacks should remain. Don’t recall any black suicide bombers in white marketplaces. Any prejudice they faced was not because of any choice they’d made. Reckon it’s an interesting read. Really can’t see the parallels.

      • HSV325

        There is no parallels. I was just reading the post and BLM popped into my head after all these years

  • Jas

    Lucky she didn’t do it the other way in a Muslim country. Here she may get some people being mean to her. There she would be executed.

  • Curly1952

    I am at a loss as to why someone from what is obviously a good family change religion. What are the benefits? Does this girl really believe or is she just all show?
    My view is didums deal with what comes your way until you can prove to me and others that you and your ilk can offer some serious value to our lives

    • sandalwood789

      I’ll bet that she didn’t do any research before becoming Muslim.

      I’ll bet she has no idea who Timur (Tamurlane) was (for example).


      Quote – “Timur’s armies were feared throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, sizable parts of which were laid waste by his campaigns. Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world’s population.”

    • benniedawg

      Perhaps you might like to view the photo that went with the story in the Press. Might go some way to answering your questions. The whole story smelt of a urine take. If you are, as you claim, a convert to islam why on earth would you want to work in an adult shop? Someone here is having fun at the expense of gullible readers.

    • Martin

      My take on it, without wanting to be unkind would be: Attention-whoring woman has found affirmation from a group that wants to go through stage one of Jihad — framing Muslims as victims of persecution (worse than killing remember!) while ostentatiously imposing their fascist and female-controlling uniform on a culture that has no need for them and will eventually face the usual choice of conflict or conquest. Possibly both.

  • steve and monique

    Strange don’t you think that she applied for a job at a store called “trick or treat?” I can see the nutters not being very pleased one of their brainwashed ilk working for a store that is named after a Halloween festival.That said, at least they could tell her she can dress in her chosen “outfit” for one day of the year; just don’t yell “trick or treat” or people will vacate pretty swiftly!

    • Cadwallader

      Provided she doesn’t yell out “heads or no heads!”

  • oldmanNZ

    Would changing to be a islamic symbol, would be like converting to Nazism, wearing Nazi symbols, and expecting people to respect your choice.?

  • cows4me

    There’s been a lot of flys in Taranaki , it’s the heat. If I see her in my travels I’ll get her some fly spray.

  • Catriona

    Well, if I was the interviewer and didn’t know before that French was Muslim, I wouldn’t have asked her to remove her headwear. I would have been able to sum this person up within the first few seconds and based on her presentation, I would have cut the interview short in a polite way and not bothered to take it any further. I mean, headscarf or no headscarf – does this person look like she would be able to grab retail by the balls and do a good job? No, don’t think so.
    I would not have made the Muslim bizzo an issue. No need to.
    As a business owner, you are not obliged to make a point regarding a potential employee. Just put the CV through the shredder.

    • Chris W

      That’s almost certainly what really happened.

  • Wallace Westland

    Stupid cow and the shop owner isn’t the brightest spark either.
    Let’s say I get four applicants for an engineering role.

    * A European descendant NZ (White)-Male
    * A Maori – Female
    * A Pakistani – Female
    * A Romanian – Female

    They all have a masters or similar and they stack up so get an interview.

    The white kiwi walks in and we go through he interview process. I notice a swastika tattooed to his wrist and HATE on his knuckles (this happened) the guy has a shaven head and a bit of an attitude but clearly was suitable, highly intelligent and qualified for the job.

    The Maori applicant goes through same process except his tattoo wasn’t seen by accident it’s a chin Moko. She is just as good as the last guy.

    The Pakistani turns up and is wearing a Hijab. Same process, just as good and her English is excellent.

    The Romanian turns up, dressed in a business suit. His English is OK but I suspect on the phone could be a bit hard for me to understand him.

    I hate Romanians because of the rubbish way they play poker on line so this guy is on the back foot.

    HR have done there bit already (or they wouldn’t be in my office) so the final choice is mine.

    Who do I pick?

    White Kiwi
    Maori Female
    Pakistani Female
    Romanian Male

    I pick the Romanian male because despite the fact that I have a stupid prejudice I don’t even know if he plays poker.

    I do know the other three all have some kind of agenda because they wear it on their sleeves and skins. Literally.

    My job is to assist my company not the political or ideological aspirations of potential candidates nor do I feel the need to have those differences highlighted by them. If you can’t hide it I’m not interested.

    The shop owners should have kept his mouth shut done the interview and at a later stage informed the candidate that a more suitable placement has been found.

    You do NOT have to disclose to a candidate why they didn’t get the role.

    • Cadwallader

      Now, repeat the process to decide who ought be the leader of the Labour Party!

    • twr

      Why did the woman in the hijab fail the test? It’s just clothing and understandable English is pretty helpful.

    • Chris W

      I very much doubt her account of the interview is true. It’s far too neat a tale to actually be true.

  • thesilentmajority

    As part of her religious discovery of Islam I strongly recommend that she go and live in an Islamic country for a while. A long, long while.

  • Bolaans

    If this lady thinks she has it hard, she may like to ask Infidel women how they are treated in Muslim countries.

  • Sunshine

    Somebody with a pig farm give this poor lady a job please.

  • Citizen

    The Hijab, Niquab or Burka are not a symbol, nor a requirement of being a Muslim. They are a symbol of extremism a symbol of mysoginism (sp). They are a sign of the insidious creep of extreme Islam.

  • Chris W

    I’m somewhat skeptical about the spitting and shoving. These are easy allegations to make because they seem credible, but in my experience such boorish behaviour towards complete strangers is surprisingly rare in NZ.

  • Kelvin Wu