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19 Muslim Australians Who Are Owning It Right Now

These guys and girls are breaking down barriers one stereotype at a time.

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1. Waleed Aly

Channel Ten

At age 37, Aly has already achieved more that most do in a lifetime. He's a lawyer, an engineer, a teaching academic, a musician, and Walkley award-winning journalist. Raised by Egyptian immigrants in Melbourne, Aly has brought Muslim representation in mainstream Australian media to the next level. You know him best for co-hosting The Project on Channel Ten where he gave this epic speech on how ISIS is weak.

2. Sarah Baarini

Mathew Lynn / Via Star Weekly

This 17-year-old from south-west Melbourne is already a well-established philanthropist. Baarni, who received the Wyndham Council’s Mayoral Youth Award for Community Service, Volunteering and Leadership earlier this year has helped raise funds and awareness for countless organisations. These charities include Sids and Kids, Kidney Health Australia, Leukaemia Foundation, and Islamic Relief Australia. Now in Year 12 at the Australian International Academy in Coburg, she hopes to pursue a career in forensics or law, whilst continuing her passion for philanthropy.

3. Anthony Mundine

Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Mundine is a sporting legend in two different fields. He first dominated rugby league as the highest paid player in 1998, before switching to middleweight boxing. As a professional boxer, he has won the IBO Middleweight Championship once and the WBA Super Middleweight Championship twice. The proud Indigenous Australian converted to Islam in 1999, and has since been a spokesperson for the Australian Muslim community.

4. Ahmed Fahour

Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Fahour is the CEO of Australia Post, but that's only one of his many business ventures. Fahour, who migrated from Lebanon with his family at age 4, is also the executive chairman of Startrack, the director of the Cartlon Football Club, and the former Australian Operations CEO of the National Australia Bank. However, what's most remarkable is his commitment to closing the gender gap in the workplace. "The recruitment, retention, and promotion of women is critical for understanding customer behaviour in our fastest-growing market," he told Sydney Morning Herald.

5. Frida Deguise

facebook.com

This mother of four juggles two careers - one in stand-up comedy and the other in fashion designer. As a devout Muslim who tells dirty jokes in pubs, Deguise says she enjoys breaking the stereotype of what it means to be an Islamic woman. Raised in a Lebanese Muslim family, Deguise says she only began wearing a headscarf regularly from age 23. Her evening fashion line Roxcii won Best Gown when worn by Miss Australia at this year's Miss Universe contest.

6. Nazeem Hussain

Twitter: @nazeem_hussain

Raised in Melbourne by a Sri Lankan-Tamil family, Hussain is owning the Australian comedy scene. He's known for his SBS hit comedy show, Legally Brown, which features some of the best comic talent in the country. He was even nominated for a Logie Award for his talk show Salam Cafe back in 2009. When he's not making people laugh, Hussain is the director of the Islamic Council of Victoria. And if that wasn't impressive enough, he has a Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Law from Deakin University.

7. Aamer Rahman

Facebook: Aamer

The Bangladeshi-Australian comedian is one half of comic duo Fear of a Brown Planet with his longtime friend Nazeem Hussain. Like Hussain, Rahman also has a law degree and was raised for sometime in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. More recently, he's known for his strong social media presence. Rahman frequently tweets about issues close to his heart and the Muslim-Australian community.

8. Dr. Susan Carland

Twitter: @SusanCarland

Dr. Carland comes from a Causacian-Australian family. She converted to Islam of her own accord at age 19, two years after making a New Year's resolution to learn more about other religions. Dr. Carland has a PhD from Monash University on how Muslim women fight sexism within the Muslim community. In addition to being a university lecturer, she's also a voice for feminism and anti-islamophobia in Australia, frequently appearing on radio and television shows. Most recently, you'll have seen her on Channel Ten's Studio 10. She also happens to be married to Waleed Aly, co-host of The Project.

9. Ed Husic

Daniel Munoz / Getty Images

Husic was Australia's first Islamic frontbencher. He served as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as well as parliamentary secretary for broadband. When appointed to those offices in 2013, Husic chose to take his oath upon The Qur'an in honour of his Bosnian Muslim parents. Husic continues to serve the Labor Party as the Federal Member for Chifley.

10. Randa Abdel-Fattah

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences / Via youtube.com

Abdel-Fattah is an Australian author of Palestinian and Egyptian decent. She is best known for her debut novel Does My Head look Big in This?. It tells the story of a 16-year-old Muslim girl who decides to wear a hijab full-time, and the reactions she faces from her family and friends. Abdel-Fattah also holds a law degree from the University of Melbourne and stood in the 1998 federal election as a member of the Unity Party. Their slogan was "Say No to Pauline Hanson".

11. Sabrina Houssami

Gaye Gerard / Getty Images

Houssami, who comes from a Hindu/Muslim family, was crowned Miss World Australia in 2006. She even went on to rank 2nd runner up at the Miss World contest that year. She's also a graduate from the University of Sydney in Liberal Studies, majoring in Psychology and English. Add to that, Houssami also appeared on the first series of The Apprentice Australia, where she made the top five.

12. Dr. Jamal Rifi

Steve Christo / AP

Dr. Jamal Rifi is a general physician and notable community leader in Sydney. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Australian of the Year Award. But he first came to prominence for his open condemnation of violence in the Lebanese community during the 2005 Cronulla Riots. He's continued his efforts by encouraging fellow Australian Muslims to speak out against groups like ISIS.

13. Yassmin Abdel-Magied

yassminam.com

Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese-Australian mechanical engineer, social advocate, and writer. She’s also this year’s recipient of the Queensland Young Australian of the Year Award. Her passion for social justice began early. At 16, she founded Youth Without Borders, an organisation centred at creating positive change for youth in disenfranchised communities. Abdel-Magied is also a frequent guest on talk shows regarding issues surrounding the Muslim community, feminism, and cross-cultural diversity.

14. Dr. Anne Aly

youtube.com

Esteemed author and counter terrorism expert Dr. Anne Aly works with former Islamic extremists, helping them transition back into Australian communities. In addition, she's an academic at Curtin Univeristy, council member for Australian Arab relations at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and recipient of the Publication Award from the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers.

15. Faten El Dana

publictelegraph.com

El Dana is known for her philanthropic work in the Australian Islamic community. As the president of the Muslim Women's Welfare of Australia, El Dana has worked as an ambassador for migrant women regarding health, family issues, raising special needs children, job searching, and language interpretation. In 2012, she was honoured for her efforts with both the Order of Australia Medal and NSW Premier's Lebanese Community Award.

16. Usman Khawaja

Chris Hyde / Getty Images

Khawaja is a top order batsman on the Australian Cricket Team. He is also the first international Australian cricketer of Islamic faith, making his debut in the 2011 Ashes Test Series. Born in Islamabad, Pakistan and raised in Sydney, Khawaja attended Westfields Sports High School, a secondary school for those gifted at sport. Apart from cricket, Khawaja is a qualified pilot and has a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of New South Wales.

17. Bachar Houli

Robert Prezioso / Getty Images

AFL player Bachar Houli was raised in an orthodox Lebanese Muslim family. He's the third Islamic Australian to play in the Australian Football League after Adem Yze and Sedat Sir. He was also nominated for the AFL Rising Star award in 2008. Houli currently plays for the Richmond Football Club.

18. Captain Mona Shindy

news.navy.gov.au

Captain Mona Shindy is one of the most senior serving Muslim Australians in the Navy. Captain Shindy not only serves as the Chief Strategic Advisor on Islamic Cultural Affairs, but she's the Head of the Guided Missile Frigate System Program Office. Captain Shindy, a proud Egyptian-Australian, hopes to create a more peaceful world for future generations. "As a mother, I would like to think I am helping to create a future for my children where they feel understood, included, and respected," she said.

19. Mariam Veiszadeh

Supplied

Born in Afghanistan during the Soviet War, Veiszadeh and her family tried seeking asylum in several different countries until Australia granted them safe harbour in 1991. She's now a lawyer and advocate for anti-islamophobia and the fair treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. She also received the 2015 Westpac Woman of Influence Award for her work in these areas.

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