Academic becomes first Muslim woman MP in Australia

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Australia will have its first Muslim woman MP, the Greens party in News South Wales (NSW) said on Sunday.

Academic Mehreen Faruqi, of Pakistani origin, will replace NSW upper house MP Cate Faehrmann in the new parliament later this year.

“As the first Greens MP in NSW from a migrant background, I'm also excited about building stronger relationships between the Greens and migrant communities,” Dr. Faruqi said in a statement.

She said she looks forward to tackling issues concerning gender equality and same-sex marriage, among other topics.

Dr. Faruqi was preselected by the Greens in a postal ballot from among a field of seven women-only candidates, in another first for the party.

“Mehreen's Pakistani heritage not only breaks new ground for the Greens but it breaks new grounds for politics in NSW, and indeed the whole country,” Ms. Faehrmann said in a statement on Sunday, according to local media reports.

The party said Dr. Faruqi has been the first Muslim woman appointed to any parliament in Australia, the party said.
In recent years, Muslim women in Western politics have been making the news.

In 2012, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appointed a Muslim woman as part of his government during a Cabinet reshufle this week.

Hadia Tajik, 29, also of Pakistani descent, was appointed as Norway’s minister of culture.

In 2009, a young Muslim veiled woman joined the Christian Democratic Party in Brussels to become the first and only veiled Muslim in a Christian political party.

Mahinur Ozdemir, of Turkish background, had said she found some of her ideals in the Christian Democratic Party’s platform.

“I believe in the values of humanity and respect of religious beliefs of people, and I find the Christian Democratic Party provides such a platform,” Ozdemir told Al Arabiya in May 2009, while taking a break from handing out pamphlets for her candidacy to pedestrians in the market.

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