AUSTRALIA: A Pakistan-born migrant Mehreen Faruqi became the first Muslim woman to enter the Australian state parliament as she was selected by the New South Wales Greens to fill a position in the upper house of the state legislature, Voice of America (VOA) reported on Wednesday.
Faruqi was selected by a postal ballot of party members, from a field of seven in a contest in which only women could run.
She is all set to become part of Australia’s first and oldest parliament in New South Wales in July as the first female Muslim in any of Australia’s state, territory or federal parliaments.
While Muslim groups worry that Faruqi will face problem in merging the teachings of Islam and Greens policies, she believes that faith should have no bearing on Australian politics.
“I see no role that religion plays in government and nor should it. I am not a spokesperson, you know, for religious Islam. There are many other MPs who are Christians and likewise they are not spokespeople for the church,” she stated.
“And, like I said earlier, I joined the Greens because of a really strong position on sustainability, social justice, human rights [and] multiculturalism.”
“She would support things such as gay marriage and that is directly in conflict with the teachings of Islam. I do not know whether she is going to stick to that, how she is going to harmonize between the two,” Keysar Trad, the founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia said.
Faruqi studied environmental engineering after she migrated from Pakistan with her family in 1992 and is a professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales.
As the ethnic diversity increases in Australia, analysts expect more participation from minorities in the political arena.