Australia Chooses 1st Egyptian Muslim Woman as Youth Minister

An Egyptian woman was sworn in as Minister of Youth for the Labor Party in the new Australian government, on Wednesday, holding a copy of the Quran with a pink cover, before Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese.

Albanese stood up from his chair to shake hands and congratulate her in a scene described by the Australian local media as historic and distinguished.

Anne Aly is the abbreviation of the name of Azza Mahmoud Fawzi Husseini Ali al-Serougy who was born in 1967 in Alexandria, according to her online biography.

Aly is the first Muslim woman to hold a ministerial position in the history of Australia in which more than 620,000 Muslims reside including immigrants and descendants, in addition to more than half a million Arabs, most of whom are Lebanese.

According to her biography, Aly immigrated with her family since she was two years old to Australia, and regained her Egyptian citizenship in 2016.

Choosing Aly was based on her experience in combating extremism and terrorism, although the achievements of her past are different.

In 1990 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the American University in Cairo.

After returning to Australia, she received in 2008 the Dean’s Award for Best New Researcher from a university she had previously graduated from in 1994 in English literature, then a master’s degree in 1996 in the same subject, and two years later she obtained a doctorate degree in philosophy, from the Australian Edith Cowan University.

 

In 2009, she also received the Publication Award from the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO).

After her appointment to the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she founded what she called the “People against Violent Extremism (PaVE)”.

She is also active with the Curtin University’s Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT), in which she led a research program on countering violent extremism online.

Aly was chosen as “Woman of the Year” when she became in 2016 the first Muslim woman elected to parliament.

She is also a university professor, and the mother of two sons from an ex-husband she married in 1988.

Aly said in a memoir she published in 2018 entitled “Finding My Place: From Cairo to Canberra – the Irresistible Story of an Irrepressible Woman” that she suffered from her ex-husband’s mistreatment a lot and after the divorce, she had to take care of her two sons, Adam and Karim alone, as a single mother, and then found stability with her current husband, a Canadian named David Allen, who was a police officer, and a famous practitioner of hockey.

The new Australian cabinet is formed of 23 ministers, including ten women and a Muslim minister named Ed Nurredin Husic, 52, who is originally from Bosnia.

His father, Haseeb, was a welder in Australia, while his mother was a housewife. He is married, has one son, is also a member of the Labor Party, and is Minister of Industry in the new cabinet.

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