Ed Husic: First Muslim MP in Australia

Yesterday, September 28th, history was made in Australia. The first Muslim Member of Parliament was sworn in using the Qur’an. Edham (Ed) Husic, the son of Bosnian Muslim immigrants, was elected into office on August 21st and became the first Muslim lawmaker on the federal level in the 109-year history of the country.

His election, however, was not without its trials. In 2004, Husic ran for a seat but lost the election. Flyers were distributed that said that he was a devout Muslim trying to push for Islam in Greenway, in Western Syndney. In this election, Husic faced similar challenges from his opponent David Barker, who posted anti-Islamic comments on his Facebook page and tried to highlight Husic’s Muslim background. Barker, however, was asked to step down by the Liberal Party.

Although Muslims only make up 1.5% of the total Australian population, Husic’s win has meant a move towards more tolerance and acceptance. In this context Husic has called on the Australian Muslim community to be more vocal in their opposition to terrorism and said that a collective effort is needed to ease the tensions that have emerged since 9/11.

With all the conflict surrounding Muslim citizens, mosques, veiling, and immigration in America and Europe, this story reminds us that there are positive steps toward tolerance.

What do you think of this story? Is it significant that Husic was sworn in on the Qur’an?  Do you think his election indicates more tolerance? Please share your comments below.