Waleed with his co-hosts

Waleed with his co-hosts

Waleed Aly is to become the first Muslim in Australia to co-host a major, prime time television show. Waleed is set to join Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar on The Project on 26 January 2015.

It is exciting because he is a Muslim who’ll be sitting in the spotlight, but even more exciting because Waleed’s religious beliefs have rarely influenced his day-to-day work. Essentially, he’ll just be a normal co-host who happens to be Muslim and that’s exactly what we need.

On his religious beliefs influencing his job, Waleed said “It is something I’m aware of and it is something I value (but) it is not something that is front of mind when I’m doing my job.” He added, “I’m not on a particular mission by taking this job.”

And I don’t think he needs to be on a mission to make a huge impact. Simply, his presence on the panel is enough. It allows broader society to see Muslims as normal people. It may not change the world but it’s a bloody good start.

Susan and Waleed. LOVE.

Susan and Waleed. LOVE.

Waleed is 36 years old and was born to Egyptian parents. The man is a lawyer, an engineer, a journalist and hilarious guy. He is married to another incredible Muslim, Susan Carland who I adooore.

I first saw these two on the SBS program, Salam Cafe. The show was great because it made Muslims relatable. Since then, they have been contributing to the Australian-Muslim narrative and have been a voice of reason against the bigotry that we frequently deal with.

Well done to Waleed! I wish him all the very best.

Next step – we need to get a bit more of an ethnic mix on Home and Away. Apparently it’ll be something like this though.

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