Kareem Baba is a Bachar Houli Foundation (BHF) Employment Program participant, currently serving as a Consumer and Community Engagement Trainee with the Gold Coast Suns.

Baba is the third Muslim to find work through the BHF Employment Program in Queensland, and he feels that the program is vastly improving the understanding of Islam around the football community in the state.

“The majority of the staff at the Gold Coast Suns are well aware of what Muslims are and have developed some background knowledge of what Islam is in general,” Baba said.

“For instance, Ramadan had just started when I joined, and many of the staff at the Suns were curious and asked me many questions.”

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Baba believes that the BHF Employment Program is crucial in ensuring that there is Muslim representation in workplaces throughout the AFL, citing how an increase in representation can help young Muslims in the workforce come out of their shells and embrace their identity.

“I feel that based on the false image represented by the media, young Muslims of this generation succumb to the stereotypes and are therefore shy or embarrassed to embrace themselves and feel proud of who they are,” Baba said.

“With the support of the Bachar Houli Foundation Employment Program, the social awareness of Muslims improves, and the true, beautiful image of Muslims emerges – especially with the AFL, which has a very big following.”

Baba, 19, has always felt a strong yearning to connect with and assist others, recalling instances where he and his father helped disadvantaged people in their community and interstate.

“My father and I flew to Sydney during the bushfires and bought various goods such as motors, non-perishable food, toiletries, etc,” Baba said.

“Additionally, from April to August 2020, I gathered crates of vegetables and bread to distribute to roughly 200 stranded international students.”

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