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Australia’s First Muslim Minister and the challenges he will face.

July 4, 2013

It is a historic milestone that Australia now has its first Muslim Minister, Ed Husic, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Broadband. Although this was hailed quite properly as ‘a wonderful day for multiculturalism and everything it stands for in our country’ by the Governor General Quentin Bryce the blow-back has already begun. Mr Husic’s Facebook page received some positive comments and congratulations although this soon turned negative over the fact he chose to be sworn in on the Koran.

Mr Husic has described himself as a moderate Muslim who does not engage fully or heavily in Muslim practices. Australia’s first Islamic front bencher has categorized these clearly uncalled for Facebook comments about swearing in on the Koran such as ‘disgusting’ and ‘un-Australian’ as extremist but Democratic and many of his labour and opposition colleagues have quite rightly leapt to his defence.

It will be interesting to see how his role in the Ministry plays out over time. No doubt the Islamic community will be universally supportive and this is a good thing. That said it should also be remembered that the Islamic diaspora is not united, far from it. The sometimes violent ructions between the Muslims sects such as Sunni, Shi’ite and Sufis, especially in places like the UK, is very real and won’t go away anytime soon. I am speaking of how things are not as they should be.

My novel London’s Falling has covered this in detail and later events have mirrored what I depicted in it. The London riots of 2011 and the recent outrage where a soldier was brutally butchered by Islamic terrorists who then ranted a justification for this over the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars that went instantly viral show how radical Islam can so quickly get out of control. I’m not suggesting these kinds of horrific events would occur here, at least not anytime soon.

Fortunately Australia have been spared the worst of what can and does happen overseas, even if several serious terrorist attacks have been thwarted, including some that never became public. The closest we have come here were disturbances in Sydney last year where hundreds of Muslims violently protested over an anti-Islamic film. Were this level of violence or worse to happen again I’m sure Mr Husic would be able to assist through negotiations with relevant parties in the Islamic community and his very presence in the cabinet could well prevent conflict from getting out of hand. Image

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