2017 People's Choice Award - Public voting

People choice finalists for 2017 are:

Read More About People's Choice Finalists:

Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah is a lawyer, sociologist and multi-award winning author of 11 novels, published in over 15 countries. Her novels address issues of Muslim identity, human rights and political consciousness. Her novels are studied in universities and high schools around the world.

Her first novel, Does My Head Look Big In This?–about a young Australian Muslim Palestinian teenager who chooses to wear hijab in a time of intensified Islamophobia¬– is currently in production as a major feature film and is due to start filming in 2018. The novel has been adapted to the stage in the USA.

Dr Abdel-Fattah’s novel, Where the Streets Had A Name, set in occupied Palestine, has been adapted as a play through one of Australia's leading theatre companies and was on stage from 31 August 2017 until 5 September 2017. The audiences were primarily schools which enables the Palestinian story to reach and connect with the next generation.

Dr Abdel-Fattah is a regular guest at writer’s festivals in Australia and around the world. Her writing has attracted international academic recognition, with guest lectures at universities around the world. Dr Abdel-Fattah has been conducting independent and academic research in the area of Australian Muslims, multiculturalism, the war on terror, youth and identity and Palestine/Israel over the last 15 years. Her main strength is her demonstrated capacity to translate her scholarly work to national and international broader audiences through interventions that traverse multiple sites: academic, cultural, political and social. She contributes to some of the most urgent public policy debates of our time and is regularly sought for specialist comment by Australian media, government and community organisations.

Dr Abdel-Fattah has made unique and original contributions to research on Islamophobia, shifting the focus from minorities who are subject to Islamophobia, to those who hold and articulate Islamophobic views, adapting and advancing understandings of Islamophobia in ‘majority’ attitudes. Her PhD is due to be published as a ground-breaking book with Routledge in November 2017.

At the time she wrote her doctoral thesis, Dr Abdel-Fattah also wrote and published a novel (Australia, UK, USA) as she considered it important to translate into fiction the sociological, cultural and political issues she was interrogating at a scholarly level, particularly at a time of intensifying debates over multiculturalism, refugees and the ‘Muslim problematic’. The novel has received critical acclaim in USA and UK, won two prestigious awards in Australia and will be studied in schools. Dr Abdel-Fattah has also founded Islamophobia Media Watch to monitor and analyse media representations of Muslims in Australian media. She is also a board member of Cultural Media, which hosts the Palestine Film Festival, the only such kind in Australia.

Dr Abdel-Fattah was the recipient of the Australian Muslim Role Model of the Year award in 2010.

Dalya Ayoub is the founder and CEO of Life Matters Academy; a dream noted in 2010 and realised in 2015. She is a personal development and coaching program consultant, success and relationship Life Coach at Life Matters. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Science and a minor in Linguistics at the University of Auckland in 2005. She graduated with a Certificate in Management from Victoria University in 2009 after completing the Believe-Achieve-Inspire Leadership program (BAILP).

Later in 2010 she became a certified Life Coach through Australia’s leading establishment, The Coaching Institute. She further trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Train the Trainers Certification and Relationship and Family Coaching. She completed a Masters in Islamic Studies at Charles Sturt University (2015), writing her thesis on ‘Success from the Islamic perspective’, and hopes to couple this Islamic knowledge with her Life Coaching skills to offer a truly effective and pioneering service to the community.

Dalya has also been conducting Islamic study circles and working with non-for-profit organisations for the last decade. She is regularly invited as a keynote speaker in reputable conferences, schools and organisations around Australia and overseas. Her ultimate hope in her life is to actively participate in and witness the revival of the community & humanity by strengthening family members, especially women. Dalya regularly gives advice via social media on matters pertaining to Muslim community lifestyles and relationships.

Dalya has been running yearly Ramadan donation drives for the last two year where in 2015 over $90,000 was reaised to support a variety of charities and in 2016 she raised just over $84,000 during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Dalya was the recipient of the Australian Muslim Role Model of the Year Award in 2016.

Richmond defender Bachar Houli is the first Muslim to win an AFL premiership.

"Apart from the statistic [it means] not much [being the first Muslim to win a premiership], it will go down in history, I don't know what sort of history books but for me it is just about having the opportunity to get involved playing football and winning a premiership," Houli said.

"It's paving the way for young Muslims out there that want to play footy to get involved, be proud of who they are and go for your goals because this country offers so much, so much opportunity and we're welcomed, that's a great feeling."
He said it was possible he might become even more of a figurehead for the Australian Muslim community because of the success, but that if he did, it wouldn't bother him.
Bachar is exemplary in his adherence to his faith. First thing after a game he will come off the ground to pray. He fasts during Ramadan and even on game days (where possible). He is a leader in promoting the faith in the industry including being instrumental in organising for a prayer space to be made at the MCG. Bachar leads his academy in prayer and spirituality, he includes faith based values and sessions for the young boys alongside footy skills training. His mark on the Muslim community is indescribable and hard to put in words - really speaks for itself.

He has reached and held his place as an elite sportsman in the AFL, playing for the Richmond Football Club who are now playing a Grand Final. Bachar has steadily maintained his place in the team and is well respected around the club and industry wide.

Bachar extends his sport to also serve his community in numerous ways including his academy, Bachar Houli Academy . His academy is a national program that provides pathways for young Muslim men across the country aspiring to play AFL football.
The program also focuses on strengthening players’ leadership abilities and promoting values while providing a unique football development opportunity.
The Bachar Houli Academy is an extension of the Bachar Houli Cup – a platform for Islamic schools across the country to play AFL against other schools in a friendly, fun and safe environment.
Participants from the Bachar Houli Cup may be selected into the Bachar Houli Academy – which has a focus on high performance football talent for emerging junior players aged between 15-18 years from an Islamic background.

Bachar was the recipient of the Australian Muslim Sportsperson of the Year in 2015.

Nazeem made it on national television screens across Australia for a number of years now. His most recent appearance in 2017 was featuring as a contestant on Channel 10’s reality TV show, "I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!". He finished fourth place. His stint on 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here,' captivated and enthralled thousands of people. He used the opportunity to bring Australian Muslim issues to the forefront and challenged negative stereotypes. He exemplified great competitive character and always treating even the most difficult participants with the utmost respect. Nazeem was competing to win $100,000 for his chosen charity that supports domestic violence victims, inTouch Centre.

Nazeem is best known as the star and creator of the critically acclaimed TV show, ‘Legally Brown’, airing for two seasons on SBS in 2013 & 2014. The show broke ground with it’s boundary-pushing content, received wide spread critical acclaim and was nominated for Most Outstanding Comedy at the 2015 Logie Awards.

Other TV appearances include; ‘The Full Brazilan’ (SBS), ‘The Project’ (Ten), ‘The Feed’ (SBS), ABC News Breakfast (ABC) and leading news and politics panel show ‘Q and A’, alongside Malcolm Turnbull and Lindsay Tanner. A familiar voice on the airwaves, Nazeem also recently guest presented the coveted Breakfast time slot for Matt & Alex on Triple J and was a regular on NOVA.

In 2015 Nazeem’s first ever solo stand-up tour was one of the most successful shows to come out of the Melbourne & Sydney International Comedy Festivals and was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Comedy. His 2016 follow up show was equally as successful and he enjoyed more sell out runs around Australia and NZ. With it, he Antwerp, Paris and selling out London’s prestigious Soho Theatre, twice over. Nazeem debuted as a solo act at the Edinburgh Fringe, this August, and once again he managed to impress the harshest critics and won himself new audiences with a completely sold out run.

In most recent times, Nazeem made his American TV debut as an official correspondent for brand new Netflix program “Bill Nye Saves the World” with American scientist and TV personality Bill Nye (popularly known as ‘Bill Nye the Science guy’), which has been commission for a second series. And has just been nominated for his second Helpmann Award for Best Comedy in 2017.

Nazeem was the co-recipient of the Australian Creative Artist of the Year Award in 2016 and recipient of the Australian Muslim Youth of the Year Award in 2006.

Osman Karolia is Head of Senior School and has been working in schools for 23 years, initially in the public system and for the last 22 years in the Islamic school’s sector. Osman’s philosophy has always been that all children regardless of ability can achieve and he has always thrived at working with disadvantaged children. Osman is the co-founder and executive officer of the Islamic Schools Association of Australia which promotes an inclusive alternative to many schools and first-rate governance to avoid the culture of poor governance and purely academic focus of some. Osman in his school has achieved a strong community service, charity and volunteer culture and is currently preparing to take his students to Cambodia on a humanitarian mission. His keen to share this model with other Islamic schools.

Osman is passionate about community initiatives and has a long-established presence in grassroots activities ranging from coaching in sport, to mentoring troubled youth and encouraging health and wellbeing in the Muslim community. Osman has founded cycling, running and triathlon clubs that not only promote healthier living but also through their events have raised tens of thousands of dollars for disadvantaged communities in Australia and abroad, they have also sponsored medical equipment for hospitals. Osman also uses sport to engage with the non-Muslim community through joint activities. Osman participates in numerous interfaith and intercultural forums as a speaker and presenter on the Muslim worldview to promote a better understanding of the Islamic faith and of the Muslim community in Australia.

Osman sits on several boards and committees of schools, community organisations and educational bodies. He is a sport tragic, believes in travel to better understand others and has travelled to over 60 countries. He is married with four children and is an avid believer in using social media to deliver a positive message that seeks to inspire others rather than project fear and negativity and division.

Osman was the recipient of the Australian Muslim People's Choice Award in 2014.

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Deadline for voting is Friday the 10th of November 2017.

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Please email amaa@missionofhope.org.au for any enquiries.