'In my experience, a lot of young Muslims feel they have to stray from Islam to earn people's respect. My belief, and my message, is the opposite- that doing the right thing and being proud of your identity and beliefs will bring you real success - and even more than that, respect for yourself and your faith.'
Bachar Houli (Author) A triple Premiership player and All-Australian on-field, the mark Bachar Houli's has created with his football stretches long beyond the MCG and Punt Road. Houli's ability to mix the modern defensive traits of cover, rebound and provide attack for his team illustrates his versatility and flexibility. A Vic Metro Under 16 and 18 representative, Houli was drafted by Essendon in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft at selection 42. Playing in a range of roles with the Bombers, Houli was nominated for the NAB Rising Star after an outstanding game in the opening round of 2008. After four years and 26 games at Essendon, the former Western Jet made the move to Richmond at the end of 2010 in search of greater opportunity. This was achieved over Houli's first two years at Punt Road. A top five finish in the Best and Fairest in his first year at the Tigers as a running half-back or wing justified the move. Houli played a remarkable 111 games in his first five years with Richmond. A wrist injury limited Houli to 12 games in 2016, but his talent still shone through with five 30-plus possession games. 2017 was a stand-out year for Houli, playing 21 games across the year and averaging 23 disposals per game. He was an integral part in Richmond's 2017 premiership success and was recognised as one of the best performers of the Grand Final. After an injury interrupted 2018, Houli produced a career best season in 2019, earning his first All-Australian blazer en route to a second Premiership medal. He was second in Norm Smith Medal voting to Dustin Martin - a winning formula for the Tigers as it was in 2017. The coronavirus pandemic brought unprecedented disruption to the 2020 season, but with relocation to Richmond's Gold Coast hub, Bachar made a solid contribution to the campaign, helping to cement The Tigers's legacy as one of the greatest sides of the modern era as he picked up his third Premiership medal, as well as a Jim Stynes Award. Off the field, Bachar is the AFL's first devout muslim. He has helped bring to life a number of initiatives that have generated great community impact in a short time. The Bachar Houli Cup, an inter-Islamic schools football competition involving Islamic schools across Victoria, as well as the Bachar Houli Academy; established to nuture young Islamic footballers aspiring to follow in Houli's footsteps as a footballer and person. The launch of the Bachar Houli Foundation will ensure these programs and newly created ones continue the legacy Houli and The Tigers have established. Houli's love of the outdoors has been brought to life with his association with Victorian Fisheries Authority. As an ambassador for the VFA, the father of three is promoting, teaching and developing fishing right across the state. Waleed Aly (Author) Waleed Aly is one of Australia's most respected and versatile media talents. He is a broadcaster, author, academic and musician. Waleed is co-host of network TEN's The Project, live to air weeknights. In 2016 Waleed won the Gold Logie Award for the Most Popular Australian TV Personality, Silver Logie Award for Best Presenter and delivered the 2016 Andrew Olle Media Lecture. Waleed picked up another Silver Logie for Best Presenter in 2017. Waleed has tackled comedy as both a writer and presenter for SBS's Salam Cafe, along with hard-hitting news as a host of ABC radio's Mornings program in Melbourne. He has presented sporting analysis on ABC News 24's The Drum, and political analysis on Q&A and BBC World. In 2010 he hosted The Late Session for SBS, a lively talk show set in a dinner party environment canvassing a wide range of contemporary topics. Through this as well as regular appearances on Offsiders, Meet The Press, The 7.30 Report and Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, Waleed has become widely recognised and trusted by audiences across Australia. In 2005, Waleed was made a White Ribbon Day Ambassador for the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and was named one of The Bulletin magazine's 'Smart 100' in 2007. He was invited participant to the Prime Minister's 2020 Summit in 2008 and in 2011 he was named Victoria's Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards for his work in fostering cross cultural understanding in the community. When he's not broadcasting or writing, Waleed is probably doing something musical. Waleed is the guitarist and main songwriter for Melbourne originals band Robot Child. He played the lead guitar in the world's first ever theatrical production of Pink Floyd's classic album, The Wall with Nuworks Theatre in Melbourne, in the process helping to raise $60,000 to rebuild a girls' school in Afghanistan that the Taliban had previously destroyed. He also played guitar on Storm, a song he co-wrote live on air with Sony-signed Australian artist, Shelley Harland. Waleed is almost certainly the only terrorism expert in the world to have written a formal harmonic and structural analysis of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his Melbourne International Comedy Festival debut in 2013 alongside Charlie Pickering in 'The World's Problems Solved with Charlie Pickering and Waleed Aly'. Waleed was Radio National's Drive show host from 2012 for three years, co-hosting The Project on Friday nights during this period. Currently he presents The Minefield on Radio National with ethicist Scott Stephens every Wednesday morning. Waleed is a lecturer in politics at Monash University, working in their Global Terrorism Research Centre.