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in brief: first female muslim to be elected to australian parliament

Dr Mehreen Faruqi will make history by becoming the first female Muslim to be elected to Parliament in Australia. Faruqi was pre-selected by the Greens party for the upper house seat for NSW; she will take over from Cate Faehrmann later in the year.

‘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,’ said Faehrmann to local reporters.

While many view her pre-selection as a milestone, Faruqi stresses that her religion is only one element of her identity. She told SBS: ‘We live in a democracy and [have] a secular system of government. I see no role that religion plays in government, and nor should it.’

An advocate for all forms of equality, Faruqi was quick to refute claims that her religion conflicts with many of the Greens’ policies: ‘[Equality] provides dignity to people and humanity to people whether it’s equality in gender or equal marriage, and I feel very, very strongly about that.’

‘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,’ she said of her pre-selection.

Faruqi completed her Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Engineering & Technology in Lahore, and Masters and PhD in Environmental Engineering at UNSW. She is Academic Director of the Master of Business & Technology Program and Associate Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management, University of NSW, and has worked with universities and NGOs in her birth country, Pakistan. Her professional expertise centres on sustainability and environmental management.

Her goals for her time in parliament include building stronger links between the Greens and migrant communities in NSW as well as continuing to campaign on environmental issues.

Faruqi is the second Muslim in an Australian parliament after Ed Husic was elected MP for western Sydney in 2010.

(Image Credit)

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