CAIRO – Australia's first Muslim minister has been racially abused over social network after he took the oath of office on the noble Qur’an.
"I am who I am," Ed Husic, who was appointed as a parliament secretary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and parliamentary secretary for broadband on Monday, told The Telegraph on Tuesday, July 2.
“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.”
Husic, of Bosnian origin, is the first Muslim to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary to the deputy Prime Minister in his capacity as the Minister for Broadband.
Hours after taking the oath on Monday before Governor-General Quentin Bryce, his Facebook page attracted posts from people angry at his decision to use the Koran 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.
“Shame, Shame, Shame," wrote Ross Peace.
"I am so disappointed in this government that they don't have the spine to stand up for the Australian way of life."
“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.
Husic, 43, made history in 2010 when he was elected a member of parliament for western Sydney.
He took the oath with his hand put on a copy of the Noble Qur’an.
Husic’s decision to take Qur’an oath was defended by different politicians, rejecting the racial comments as an “appalling” criticism.
“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,” a Liberal MP, Josh Frydenberg, who is Jewish, tweeted.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said people should respect Husic's choice.
"I respect his choice," he told reporters in Melbourne, AAP reproted.
"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.
Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.
In post 9/11-era, Australian Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.