Susan Carland is Australia’s newest game show host
SUSAN Carland has landed her own TV show.
The academic, who is married to The Project's Waleed Aly, was yesterday announced as the host of an SBS quiz show called Child Genius which will air later in the year.
"Presided over by quizmaster, Dr Susan Carland, this brand new six-part series to find Australia's brightest child in a unique competition documentary format, follows the lives of some of Australia's brightest children and their families," an SBS statement said. "These gifted children all have very high IQs and showcase phenomenal cognitive abilities in maths, general knowledge, memory and language.
"Presented in association with Australian Mensa, the series features participants and their families from all over Australia, and provides unique insight into the joys - and challenges - of parenting a gifted child."
Carland is no stranger to TV having appeared on shows including Salam Cafe, The Project and Home Delivery.
It was on the latter show that Carland opened up to host Julia Zemiro about her decision to convert to Islam.
Carland was raised Christian and religion was always present in her life: She was made to attend Sunday school throughout her primary school years.
But questions about her faith started to emerge.
"When I was 17 I still had lots of questions. I began to wonder, am I just following the Christian path because that's what I've been raised in? Is there truth or meaning elsewhere? I decided I was going to look," she told Zemiro.
Islam was not her first option.
"I was adamantly NOT interested in Islam; I thought it looked sexist and outdated and barbaric. All the stereotypes, the standard things that many politicians today seem to think. But to my surprise, it provoked my interest."
Two years later, at the age of 19, she became a Muslim. In those two years, she'd immersed herself in books and joined a Muslim women's group at university to make sure the religion was right for her.
The next test: 'Coming out' about her religion to her family and friends.
"I was terrified, absolutely terrified about telling people. My family - my mum in particular. And my friends, it was awful. I was so worried about telling people, because I didn't know how they'd react. I assumed they would react negatively, and most people did," she recalled.
"It didn't help that I wanted to wear the hijab straight away. I think if I just said, 'I'm going to become Muslim but still look the same' it would have been much easier for people to take."
Carland converted to Islam pre-9/11, and has now watched her religion become closely linked to global terrorism in many people's perceptions. Even now, Carland says her life would be "so much easier" if she wasn't a Muslim: Time and again, she says she comes up against people who "cannot believe that someone, especially an educated woman, would possibly choose it for herself."
But this hasn't swayed her from her religious beliefs.
"I really believe in Islam as a religion. I really believe it has something to offer the world and it's a thing of beauty. I just want people to see that," she says.