MP abused for swearing on the Koran
The prime minister's new parliamentary secretary, Ed Husic, has been subjected to a torrent of abuse online for being sworn in to his position with a Koran.
Husic became Australia's first Muslim frontbencher on Monday when he was appointed to Kevin Rudd's new-look ministry as parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and parliamentary secretary for broadband.
"This is a wonderful day for multiculturalism, and everything it stands for in our country," Governor-General Quentin Bryce told Husic during the swearing-in ceremony in Canberra.
However, after receiving dozens of messages of congratulations on his Facebook page, the comments quickly turned to disgust and outrage that he chose to be sworn in on the Muslim holy book.
Some called it un-Australian and unconstitutional.
"Our allegiance should have been to Queen and Country first Ed. That means saying the oath on the holy bible not the Koran.... Shame, Shame, Shame," posted one user, 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."
Another user, Therese Pearce, said she was "disgusted and embarrassed" for the Australian people.
"Hell i might just have to use snow white and the 7 dwarfs next time i take the oath for australia," she posted.
One user, Anna Dean, claimed his decision to be sworn in on the Koran undermined "our culture and country and constitution in this way".
Another user, Carrie Forrest, accused him of disregarding Australia's constitution and pushing for sharia law.
Husic has previously said that he is a moderate Muslim who does not involve himself heavily with most of the religious customs and behaviours of the faith.
Asked about his religion in 2010, he told the ABC: "If someone asks me, 'Are you Muslim?' I say yes. And then if someone says, 'Well do you pray and go to a mosque and do all the other things that are associated with the faith?' I say no.
"I often get told that I describe myself as non-practising when in actual fact I don't go round saying that. Like I just say 'I'm Muslim'."
Husic, 43, the son of Bosnian Muslim migrants, became the first Muslim to be elected to parliament when he won his western Sydney seat of Chifley in the 2010 election.
Fairfax Media is seeking comment from Husic.
Sydney Morning Herald