Ali Kadri came to Aus­tralia as a 20-year-old stu­dent af­ter grow­ing up in a di­vided com­mu­nity, wit­ness­ing the vi­o­lence of anti-Mus­lim ri­ots in In­dia and “liv­ing a life of fear”. “In 2002 it came to pass that there were some re­ally horrific events that took place and me los­ing my cousin was one of them,” Kadri said. He said his ex­pe­ri­ences could have caused him to re­act in one of two very dif­fer­ent ways. “You could ei­ther re­act in a more an­gry way and be an­gry in life and at peo­ple in gen­eral, or you could do your best to en­sure that this doesn’t bring the worst out of you but brings the good out of you to help other peo­ple bring the bet­ter out of them.” Kadri has cho­sen to do his best. The vice-pres­i­dent and spokesman for the Is­lamic Coun­cil of Queens­land works to dis­pel myths about his Mus­lim faith. He and fel­low mem­bers of Bris­bane’s Hol­land Park Mosque fea­ture in the three-part SBS se­ries The Mosque Next Door, which shows what hap­pens within the com­mu­nity dur­ing the course of a year. Kadri said it was a great op­por­tu­nity to show what life was re­ally like as a Mus­lim. “When you have a show like this, your life is pretty much open for every­body to see – they feel part of it, they can see the hu­man side of things,” he said. “Gen­er­ally when we don’t know about peo­ple, when we tend to stereo­type a par­tic­u­lar group, we for­get to think that they’re just like us.” The se­ries tack­les top­ics such as halal food, the wear­ing of the hi­jab and fears about ter­ror­ism and even looks at ro­mance as a Mus­lim. “I just want peo­ple to watch the pro­gram and not think of the char­ac­ters as Mus­lims but as hu­man be­ings, just like them,” Kadri said. Part one of the se­ries airs on Wed­nes­day at 8.30pm on SBS.

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