A little while ago I mentioned that among the historic 'firsts' of the 43rd Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia were not only its youngest MP ever, or its first known Aboriginal MP, or the first Jewish MP to take a seat on the Conservative side of the House, but also...its first Muslim MP, Mr Edham Nurredin Husic, who was sworn in on his parents' Koran.
The maiden speeches of three of these - Mr Ken Wyatt, Liberal, linked by birth to three Aboriginal tribes of Western Australia, and representing Hasluck; Mr Josh Frydenberg, Liberal, from Melbourne's Jewish community, representing Kooyong; and of Mr Ed Husic, Labor, representing the heavily Islamified seat of Chifley in Sydney's blue-collar western suburbs - have now all appeared on the Parliamentary website.
Here are the links for these three speeches, for the edification and amusement of the curious who may like to click and read.
First, the speech by Mr Ron Wyatt:
I draw attention particularly to this statement - "It is with deep and mixed emotion that I, as an Aboriginal man with Noongar, Yamitji and Wongi heritage, stand before you and the Members of the House of Representatives as an equal" - and to this, concerning the upbringing his parents gave him - "My parents instilled in us the values of having respect for others, having integrity, trusting others and accepting responsibility for our actions and decisions. We were taught that our word was to be our bond, and that prevails".
Those of us here who have spent time acquainting ourselves with 'the Muslim mind', and especially those who have recently read the observations of Mr Nicolai Sennels, will see at once that certain political and moral principles which Mr Wyatt here names and praises - civic equality of persons, trust, personal responsibility and Agreement or oath-keeping - are radically opposite to those one finds among the Ummah.
Second, the speech by Mr Josh Frydenberg:
In telling his family's story - his father was born to a young Jewish couple who intelligently fled Europe in the 1930s, while his mother and her parents endured the war in the Budapest ghetto and made their way to Australia via displaced persons' camps - Mr Frydenberg says of his parents (a surgeon and a psychologist) that they "built a home where unconditional love and the obligation to help others was never in doubt".
Again, anyone familiar with the 'atmospherics of Islam' will see in Mr Frydenberg's vignette of the Jewish home in which he grew up something that is simply not found or taught in the book upon which Muslim MP Ed Husic chose to swear his oath. There is in classical Islam no such thing as unconditional love, nor any obligation to help anyone other than a fellow Muslim.
And then we have Mr Ed Husic.
On the face of it, it is unexceptionable, just as full of fine words and earnest political, social and moral platitudes as the other two speeches I have already linked.
It is only toward the end that he says two things that to me - knowing what I know about Islam - sound somewhat peculiar. I have bolded and italicised for emphasis.
He trots out the threadbare 'Abrahamic faiths' canard.
"My arrival here finally brings together the children of Abraham, Christians, Jews and Muslims working together with other people of faith, with other people of values, for the national good, united under this one roof".
And he also says this: "I should hope to acquit myself in the way that any other member would seek to in this place where my faith and its emphasis on bettering ourselves within an acknowledgement of responsibility to community, will be my companion in my efforts to represent all the residents of the diverse electorate I am honoured to represent...".
"My faith [i.e. Islam] and its emphasis on bettering ourselves within an acknowledgement of responsibility to community, will be my companion".
What exactly is meant by 'bettering ourselves'? Who is meant by 'ourselves'? And what does he mean by 'responsibility to community'? To which community?
In closing, I have a little more on Ed Husic. Namely, this report, dating from 18th September, after his election to his seat was confirmed.
Note the following:
"...Mr Husic has been busy. He attended the Mt Druitt Festival, the 90th birthday of a resident, and cheered on a local rugby team at the weekend. Mr Husic also visited Rooty Hill Mosque as Ramadan drew to a close. "I haven't observed it (Ramadan) but I did drop into the mosque last week", he said. "It is a significant part of the Muslim calendar (you can say that again - the Month of Jihad, I understand it is sometimes called - CM) and I passed on my best wishes to worshippers at Rooty Hill. For many people, it's a time to recognise self-sacrifice and to recognise others in the community who are doing it tough".
Like his line in parliament about 'my faith and its emphasis on bettering ourselves within an acknowledgement of responsibility to community', Mr Husic's explanation of the meaning of Ramadan means one thing if one knows nothing of Islam, and quite another, if one does.
For what is the classical Islamic meaning of Ramadan?
If we consult this article by Mr Raymond Ibrahim, author of 'The Al-Qaeda Reader'
we discover this:
'A recent MEMRI report titled 'Arab Columnists: Stop Talking About Offensive Jihad', alludes to the ultimate problem between Islam and the non-Muslim world: offensive jihad, or jihad-al-talab, the Islamic imperative to subjugate the world.
'The report opens by saying:
'"One dominant theme during Ramadan in the Arab world is the discussion, in the media and in religious circles, of the commandment of jihad and the obligation therein to wage war against the infidels".'
Kind of throws a different light on Mr Husic's remarks about 'a time to recognise self-sacrifice' and 'to recognise others in the community who are doing it tough', doesn't it?
There's another line from Mr Husic that also bears thinking about. It was quoted by Australian journalist Paul Sheehan in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, six years ago - "Candidate's Silence Could Speak Volumes" (Sydney Morning Herald, September 27, 2004).
"I am not a practising Muslim", he [Husic] told 'The Blacktown City Sun' "[but] I can't dishonour my parents by disavowing their religion".
It's a telling choice of phrase: not 'I can't upset my parents' but 'I can't dishonour my parents'. The word dishonour, given his Islamic cultural background, suggests the collective mindset - not that his parents, personally, would be distressed by his leaving the faith, but rather, that his leaving would cause his parents to lose face...with other Muslims.
And the thing that Mr Husic couldn't mention at all, of course, in that interview from some six years ago, but which I know about, and I'm pretty sure Mr Husic knows about, though I don't know that Mr Sheehan then knew it (in 2004), is the fact that the sharia penalty for apostasy from Islam is ...death.
Is Mr Husic more or less Islamic in his convictions than he chooses to appear? Is he a near-apostate or Muslim In Name Only who can't or won't take the final step out of Islam, because of filial piety and/ or fear of the sharia enforcers, as well as a wish to keep the votes of the Muslims among his constituents...or is he a Muslim choosing to display a lesser level of conviction than he does in fact feel, so as to keep the votes of his non-Muslim constituents? The answers matter; because of the kind of thing that Islam is.
Only time, and close scrutiny of his deeds as opposed to his words, will tell.