Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly (born 15 August 1978)[1] is an Australian writer, academic, lawyer, media presenter and musician. Aly is a co-host of Network Ten's news and current affairs television program The Project, he writes for Fairfax Media, and is a lecturer in politics at Monash University working in their Global Terrorism Research Centre.[2] In 2016, he won the Gold Logie Award for Best Personality on Australian Television.

Waleed Aly
Aly in 2010
Born (1978-08-15) 15 August 1978
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
EducationWesley College
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
Monash University
OccupationAuthor, journalist, newspaper columnist, radio and television presenter, lawyer, academic, guitarist, songwriter
Years active1996–present
TelevisionThe Project
Spouse(s)Susan Carland

Early life and education

Aly was born in Melbourne, Victoria, to Egyptian parents.[3] He is a Sunni Muslim[4] and was educated at Wesley College. He completed the International Baccalaureate at Wesley in 1996, and then studied at the University of Melbourne, graduating with Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) and Bachelor of Laws (with honours) degrees in 2002.[5]

After graduating, Aly worked as an associate to Family Court judge Joseph Kay and, until, 2007 worked as a solicitor in Melbourne for Maddocks Lawyers. In 2006, he was a pro bono lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre, on secondment from Maddocks.[6] Aly published People Like Us: How arrogance is dividing Islam and the West in 2007. In 2008, he was selected to participate in the Australia 2020 Summit.[5]

Aly is a staff member of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University[7] and says that most of the conflicts in the Middle East can be traced to the arbitrary way in which its territories were divided-up by Western powers by the ongoing demand for Middle Eastern oil and more recently by factors such as the invasion of Iraq.[4][8] After the Boston Marathon bombing, describing terrorism as a "perpetual irritant", he said it is encouraging that we are finally maturing in the way we handle terrorism.[9]

Aly has been defended by Scott Stephens, editor of Religion and Ethics ABC, in response to claims that Aly's role, "is to sanitise the public image of Islam".[10] Stephens has also said that "Aly is idolized by young Muslim academics".[11]

In May 2017 Aly received a PhD on global terrorism after completing a thesis titled 'Towards a structuration theory of global terrorism'.[12]


During his time as head of public affairs for the Islamic Council of Victoria, and a member of its executive committee, Aly was regularly interviewed on current affairs and news programs.[13] His social and political commentary has appeared in newspapers including The Guardian, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.[14] Currently he is a fortnightly columnist for Fairfax Media.[15] In searching for reasons behind the suicide attacks in central London on 7 July 2005, Aly reminded readers of the Koranic passage, "Do not let the injustice of others lead you into injustice."[16]

Aly was the host of ABC TV's Big Ideas program on ABC1 and ABC News 24.[17] He has been a regular guest co-host on The Conversation Hour[18] with Jon Faine on 774 ABC Melbourne and The Project on Channel 10 and also was a regular panel member and producer on Salam Cafe, a weekly program presented by young members of Melbourne's Muslim community and produced by RMITV[19] first for C31 Melbourne and later for SBS. He has appeared as a panellist on ABC TV's Q&A program,[20] and has been an occasional co-host on the ABC's News Breakfast.

In December 2014, Aly resigned as ABC Radio National (RN) Drive host to become the permanent co-host of Channel Ten's The Project, starting on 26 January 2015.[21][22] He returned to ABC RN in April 2015 to co-host The Minefield, in addition to his role on The Project for Channel Ten.[23][24]

In November 2015, Aly criticised the extremist 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, written by Aly and producer Tom Whitty, was posted online and received 13 million views within a day.[25][26]

As of 2019, Aly continues to co-host The Minefield, along with religion and ethics commentator Scott Stephens and an expert studio guest each week,[27] and continues his role on The Project.[28]


At the 2005 Walkley Awards, Aly was commended in the category of Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique.[29]

In 2015, Aly and producer Tom Whitty were finalists for two Our Watch Awards (The Walkley Foundation) for exemplary reporting to end violence against women, for their viral editorial, "Show Me The Money (Domestic Violence Funding)".[30] The pair were also nominated for (and won) a United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award for Promotion of Climate Change Issues, with their "Renewable Energy Target" monologue.[31] Aly and Whitty finished the year with a Walkley nomination for Excellence in Journalism in the All Media Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique category, for a series of editorials including Show Me The Money, Renewable Energy Target, and Negative Gearing.[32]

In May 2016, Aly won the Gold Logie Award for Best Personality on Australian Television, chosen by the public through an online vote.[33]

In May 2016 Aly was Liberty Victoria's winner of the Voltaire Award for free speech. Writing in The Australian, Dr Paul Monk[34] has said, "In accepting his Voltaire Award, Aly needs to step up and champion freedom of speech in the Muslim world and freedom to criticise Islam itself, including the Prophet – as Voltaire himself did."[35]

In June 2016, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosted the first Iftar dinner, at Kirribilli House for Muslim community leaders. Aly and his wife, described as the "power couple", were seated at Table No. 1, next to the Prime Minister.[36]

In August 2016, Aly and producer Tom Whitty were again finalists for two Our Watch Awards (The Walkley Foundation) for exemplary reporting to end violence against women, for their viral editorial, "Click Something Else".[37] In September, the pair were also again nominated for (and won) a United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award for Social Cohesion, with their "Send Forgiveness Viral" monologue.[38] In October, Aly and Whitty received two Walkley nominations for Excellence in Journalism. First in the Television/Audio-Visual News Reporting category, for Milked Dry, their viral editorial on Australia's dairy pricing crisis,[39] and in the Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique category, for a series of editorials: "Click Something Else", "Milked Dry", and "ISIL is Weak".[39]


Aly is the lead guitarist and principal songwriter for the Melbourne-based rock band Robot Child.[2][40] The band contributed a track to the Jesuit Social Services' Just Music album,[41] performing at the Famous Spiegeltent for its release.[42] They were also widely praised for their cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" at the 2015 Walkley Awards.[43][44]

Personal life

Aly is married to Australian feminist author and academic Susan Carland, and they have two children. Carland converted to Islam aged 19 and holds a PhD from Monash University.[45][46][47][48]


  1. Waleed Aly, profile, Gallery of Australian Biographies, Civics and Citizenship Education, Education Services Australia; "Waleed Aly: why all the haters?" by John Lyons, The Australian, 23 April 2016
  2. "Waleed Aly". ABC Radio National. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. Doogue, Geraldine (16 October 2005). "Islam On Parade". ABC.
  4. Bevan, Matt (17 March 2011). "Shiites versus Sunnis". ABC. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  5. "Mr Waleed Aly – Researcher Profile". monash.edu.au.
  6. "Human Rights Law Centre » Our staff". hrlc.org.au.
  7. "Global Terrorism Research Centre staff and their areas of interest". Monash University Faculty of Arts. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  8. Aly, Waleed (12 June 2014). "Western invasion paved way for Iraq's terror crisis". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  9. Aly, Waleed (19 April 2013). "Bomb response refreshingly honest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. Stephens, Scott (16 May 2014). "The Lucidity of Madmen: Andrew Bolt, Waleed Aly and the Myth of the 'Model Moderate Muslim'". ABC. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  11. O'Neil, Lorena (20 May 2014). "Meet Australia's Muslim Power Couple". Ozymandias. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  12. "Waleed Aly receives his PhD". The Insider. Monash University. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  13. O'Malley, Nick (1 January 2011). "Nothing in moderation for Waleed Aly". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  14. "Waleed Aly". Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  15. "Comment, Opinion, Writers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax media. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  16. Aly, Waleed (9 July 2005). "A Muslim house divided". The Age. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  17. "Big Ideas – ABC TV". abc.net.au.
  18. "The Conversation Hour with Jon Faine". abc.net.au.
  19. "Melbourne Muslims on air". theage.com.au.
  20. "God, Sodomy and the Lash". ABC. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  21. Paul Kalina. "Waleed Aly takes permanent role at The Project". The Age.
  22. "Waleed Aly to leave Radio National". The Advertiser. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  23. "Waleed Aly returns to ABC RN to shed light 'on some of the wicked social issues of the day'". Mumbrella. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  24. Farrer, Gordon (16 July 2015). "Waleed Aly: Bringing a new perspective to the conversation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 April 2016. The pleasure for Aly is that by combining his role at the ABC – where he co-hosts The Minefield, [...] – with The Project...
  25. Waleed Aly; Tom Whitty (16 November 2015). "What ISIL wants". The Project. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  26. Farrell, Paul (17 November 2015). "The Project's Waleed Aly hits out at Isis over Paris attacks in viral video". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  27. "The Minefield". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Radio National. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  28. Houston, Melinda (14 July 2019). "'It wasn't a career move': Waleed Aly's TV gamble". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  29. "Walkley Award finalists", The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 October 2005.
  30. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. "Finalists announced: 2015 Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism". Walkleys.com. 22 October 2015.
  33. "TV WEEK, Logies 2018". Now To Love. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  34. "Paul Monk bio". On Line Opinion.
  35. Monk, Paul. "Waleed Aly must step up on Muslim free speech at Voltaire Award". The Australian.
  36. Burke, Liz (16 June 2016). "Malcolm Turnbull holds first Iftar dinner for Ramadan as a Prime Minister, but is teased on NBN". News Ltd. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  37. "2016 Our Watch Awards finalists announced". Walkleys.com. 15 August 2016.
  38. "2016 Finalists – UNAA Victoria". Unaavictoria.org.au.
  39. "Finalists announced for the 2016 Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism". Walkleys.com. 20 October 2016.
  40. Nick O'Malley (1 January 2011). "Nothing in moderation for Waleed Aly". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  41. "Just Music artists". Jesuit Social Services. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  42. "Robot Child". triple j Unearthed. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  43. "The Project's Waleed Aly wows journos with guitar work at Walkley Awards". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  44. "Waleed Aly shreds on guitar as his band performs at the Walkleys". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  45. "Subscribe to The Australian - Newspaper home delivery, website, iPad, iPhone & Android apps". Myaccount.news.com.au. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  46. "Susan Carland book Fighting Hislam: Being a Muslim woman in Australia isn't easy". News.com.au. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  47. "Six reasons we're in awe of Dr Susan Carland". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  48. "Susan Carland". Profiles.arts.monash.edu.au. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
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