Since gracing our TV screens each weeknight as co-host of The Project, Waleed Aly has become a household name, but where did it all begin for him?
After graduating university in 2002, Waleed worked as an associated for a judge in Melbourne and was invited to the 2020 conference in 2008. He is the head of affairs for the Islamic Council of Victoria (and a member of its executive committee), which saw him appear regularly on current affairs and news programs for interviews. His social and political commentary appears regularly in newspapers.
In 2007, he was an adviser for channel Seven’s City Homicide, using his knowledge of Islam for an episode. Waleed hosted a television program called Big Ideas in 2008, which comprised of talk events from across the country and overseas, in universities, bookshops and festivals, discussing intellectual, political and economic topics. The series aired until 2014.
Also in 2008, he was a writer for the series Salem Café, which present a light-hearted and humorous view on his life as a Muslin in Australia, through panel discussions and a series of sketches that lampoon the representation of Muslims in Australia and the Islamic way of life.
Over the years, Waleed as also appeared in various ABC programs, including The Eisntein Factor, Mad As Hell, as well as Q&A. He was a regular on ABC Radio.
Throughout all this, Waleed started appearing on The Project as a regular guest in 2009, and his popularity on the program saw him join the show full-time as co-host in January 2015, leaving his radio program in 2014.
This switch to primetime TV saw Aly and Project producer Tom Whitty, finalists for two Our Watch Awards (The Walkley Foundation), for exemplary reporting to end violence against women, and their viral editorial ‘Show Me The Money (Domestic Violence Funding)’. Aly and Whitty finished the year with a Walkley nomination for Excellence in Journalism in the All Media Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critque category, for a series of editorials that appeared on The Project throughout the year.
One of his most memorable pieces saw him criticised the extrememist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in a four-minute monologue titled ‘What ISIL Wants’ on The Project, in the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Labelling them as “bastards” and calling for no one to fear them because “they are weak”, the video was written by Aly and Whitty and received enormous attention with just a few hours of being online. At last count, it had over 30 million views on Youtube.
On Sunday, Waleed has the opportunity to only take home his first Logie as Best Presenter, but also a good chance at the Gold Logie. Can he take home the top award?