Hours after Ed Husic became Australias first ever Muslim minister,he was flooded with online racial abuse for taking oath of office on the Quran.
The 43-year-old minister was appointed as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and parliamentary secretary for broadband Monday .
Husic,son of Bosnian migrants,was the first MP to be sworn in to federal parliament with his hand on the Quran.
Husic told the media Tuesday that he had made a straightforward decision as someone of the Muslim faith to take the oath on the Quran. I couldnt take my oath on a Bible and I didnt want to affirm. I am who I am and I just made a straightforward decision, he said.
At the official oath-taking ceremony Monday,Australias Governor-General Quentin Bryce said,it was a great day for multiculturalism and everything it stands for.
However,Husics Facebook page was soon flooded with comments saying it was disgusting and un-Australian for him to use the Quran.
Husic said the attacks on his social media site were just a natural part of democracy and that its important that we not necessarily jump because of harsh words out of dark corners.
Husic said after he accepted the huge honour of Rudds offer he called his parents – who migrated to Australia from Bosnia in the 1960s – and reflected with them on his achievement.
Meanwhile,fellow Labor MP Rob Mitchell reacted angrily on Twitter to the anti-Islamic comments,saying appalling behaviour against Husic shouldnt be tolerated at all. It is an embarrassment to decency,fairness and all we stand for, he said.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he was not familiar with the abusive comments but he respected Husics choice to be sworn in using the Quran.
I respect his choice and I think the Australian people should as well, he said.
Abbotts reaction prompted Labor MP Michelle Rowland to tweet that the Opposition Leaders comments were extremely weak.
Many Facebook users leaped to the western Sydney MPs defence,offering congratulations on his appointment and saying he should ignore the haters and racist rants.