The opposition leader said yesterday that a Labor minority government that included alliances with Muslim independents and other crossbenchers would be a disaster.

“If (Prime Minister Anthony Albanese) is in a minority government in the next term of parliament, it will include the Greens, it’ll include the teals, it’ll include Muslim candidates from Western Sydney, it will be a disaster,” Dutton told reporters.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton during a press conference.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has been accused by a Test cricket star of stoking Islamophobia. (Alex Ellinghausen/SMH)

Khawaja, who became the first Muslim to play cricket for Australia in 2011, said the comments were disgraceful.

“As a Muslim who grew up in Western Sydney, I find this comment from someone who is running for PM an absolute disgrace,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“Bigotry at its finest. Fueling Islamophobia from the very top.”

A mainstay of the Australian men’s Test team over the past two-and-a-half years, Khawaja hasn’t shied away from sharing his opinion on societal issues.

He has frequently spoken out about Israel’s invasion of Gaza and had been prohibited by cricket’s governing body from wearing shoes with the phrases “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” in Australia’s first Test of the 2023-24 season.

This morning, Dutton denied he had an issue with religiously motivated political parties.

Usman Khawaja speaks to media
Khawaja has frequently spoken out about Israel’s invasion of Gaza. (Morgan Hancock/Getty Images for Cricket Australia)

“I don’t have any problem with a party that has a religious view,” he told Today.

“My problem is not with somebody of Islamic faith, quite the opposite, not with somebody of Jewish faith.

“But when you say that your task is to, as a first order of priority, to support a Palestinian cause or a cause outside of Australia, that is a very different scenario.”

None of the current parliament’s crossbenchers are Islamic, but the Muslim Vote collective has recently promised to support candidates in certain seats in a teal-style campaign at the next election.

The organisation says it isn’t a religious campaign but a political one to help “ensure that the interests of Australian Muslims are well represented in the political arena”.

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