New Zealand's first Muslim legislator in row over Quran

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A maverick nationalist politician criticized New Zealand's first Muslim lawmaker for swearing his parliamentary oath of allegiance on the Quran.

New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters said new Labor Party legislator Ashraf Choudhary was breaking a "centuries-old tradition" by not swearing the oath on a Bible.

Choudhary, who was born in India, rejected Peters' criticism and said Peters should brush up on his New Zealand history.

Choudhary said 19th-century Prime Minister Julius Vogel, a Jew, had sworn allegiance on the Torah.

"The precedent was broken back in the 1870s by Vogel," Choudhary said.

Choudhary and the other 119 lawmakers elected at last month's election were sworn in at Wellington's Parliament House on Monday.