Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-07-05
Australia's first Muslim minister Ed Husic has been racially abused on his Facebook page and in some instances the bigotry extended far beyond the social networking site after he took the oath of office by placing his hand on the holy Qur’an.
Husic told the Telegraph, "I am who I am.I couldn’t obviously take my oath on a bible and I didn't want to affirm. [I] see that as a natural part of democracy and a good thing that people can ask those questions."
“But I also think that you'll have, from time to time, people at the extremes - there are people definitely that are extreme within my faith and there are people that are extreme outside it - and they will always seek ways in which to divide people,” added Husic.
Husic, of Bosnian origin, is the first Muslim to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Parliamentary Secretary to the deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his capacity as the Minister for Broadband.
Sadly though, the discourse was hijacked by keyboard warriors. Soon after taking the oath before Governor-General Quentin Bryce, his Facebook page was plastered with posts of abuse from people angry at his decision to use the Qur'an instead of a Bible to take his oath.
"You have created history of the worst order, to swear in on a Koran!! This is Australia with Australian Laws," said one poster calling themselves Dinki Di Sheila.
"Swore to serve Australia using the same book terrorists do to serve Al-Qaeda ....Disgusting," said another.
“You are the shame of our great nation. Australian politics has gone to the dogs, and committing the treasonous act of swearing in on the Qur’an, you are the biggest mutt in the yard!,” another user, Steve Kerr, wrote.
Some went so far as suggesting that the governor general should be dismissed for acting unconstitutionally in allowing a parliamentary officer to swear allegiance to racist Arab supremacy – rather than the Australian people and their laws.
However the Australian government and opposition parties have come to the defence of Husic's decision rejecting the racial comments as an “appalling” criticism.
A Liberal MP, Josh Frydenberg, who is Jewish, tweeted, “Criticism of @edhusicmp for being sworn-in on the Qur’an is a disgrace - we live in a democracy where we must respect freedom of religion.”
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said people should respect Husic's choice."I respect his choice," he told reporters in Melbourne, AAP reported. "I think the Australian people should as well."
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.