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Australia senate appoints first Muslim woman amid race row

Mehreen Faruqi has joined Australia’s senate as its first female Muslim member, on a day the country is caught up in a bitter row over racism. Ms Faruqi, who was born in Pakistan, said that Australia’s future would be “stronger for our diversity”. The Greens Party MP for New South Wales was appointed by the senate on Wednesday to fill a vacant seat. It comes as another new senator faces condemnation for a speech calling for a “final solution” on immigration. Ms Faruqi, who will be sworn in next week, was among the prominent critics of Fraser Anning’s use of the Holocaust-associated term. The trailblazing MP said Mr Anning had “spat in the face of millions of Australians, spewing hate and racism” in his first speech to parliament on Tuesday. “I’m a Muslim migrant, I’m about to be a Senator and there’s not a damn thing Fraser Anning can do about it,” she wrote in a piece on Wednesday. Dr Faruqi migrated from Pakistan to Australia in 1992 with her young family. Prior to entering politics she held a distinguished career as an academic and has a doctorate in environmental engineering. Her election to the state parliament in 2013 made her the first Muslim woman to attain any political office in Australia. She said that she would use her new role as senator to fight for a “positive future for Australia where we are stronger for our diversity”.

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