University lecturer and public figure Susan Carland is not one to be caught tongue-tied.
The eloquent speaker has commanded the public space and ear since she won Australian Muslim of the Year in 2004.
“For Muslims it always comes back to intention. The more you’re in the public eye, the more you have to ask yourself, ‘Is my intention because I want to be on the front of a magazine and I want everyone to look at me?’ If so, then, that’s problematic,” she said.
“But if your intention is sincerely, ‘I don’t particularly enjoy being in magazines but I have the intention of trying to create a more cohesive society or a society that has some nuance in this conversation about Islam.'”
Carland, 37, came from a Christian background in suburban Melbourne but converted to Sunni Islam at 19 after initially being drawn to the teachings at 17.
This was further developed when she was able to connect to other women at a female Muslim group at university.