Author(s): Bachar Houll
'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 is as accomplished an AFL footballer as they come. He's been part of two Richmond Premiership sides, he was an All-Australian in 2019, and with over 200 games to his name he remains a key part of a champion team.Picked at number 42 in the 2006 National Draft by Essendon, Houli played 26 games for the Bombers before moving in 2011 to Tigerland, where rookie coach Damien Hardwick was assembling the team that six years later would achieve the seemingly impossible and claim Richmond's 11th Premiership. Another flag followed two years later, with Houli close to best on ground in both deciders.Yet it's as the AFL's most prominent Muslim player that Houli is best known - and his strong Muslim values are at the heart of the man he is. Writing for the first time, Houli explores the experiences and beliefs that sparked his trailblazing success as a Muslim footballer, and that established him as a leading voice within the AFL community for inclusion, understanding and tolerance.