Fiji Time: 8:18 PM on Friday 27 November

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Naitanui, Houli join forces in racism fight
Friday, July 25, 2014

Update: 2:07PM AFL multicultural ambassadors Nic Naitanui and Bachar Houli have called for education to fight racism as they joined forces at Patersons Stadium yesterday to help promote the AFL's multi-cultural round.

West Coast's Naitanui, who is Fijian, and Richmond's Houli, a Muslim of Lebanese descent, said much progress had been made but much was still to be done in fighting racism in football.

"Fifteen per cent of the football industry is multicultural, but it is not a real reflection of society where probably 50 per cent of the community has a parent who was born overseas," Naitanui said.

"We are slowly building on that, but there is always room for improvement."

Houli, an AFL groundbreaker for the Islamic community, said he hoped his achievements would inspire others.

"Previously they thought it was a racist game, but hopefully through my involvement and the opportunities that I have opened we can see more young Muslims growing up and playing at the highest level," he said.

Houli will play his 108th game against West Coast at Patersons Stadium tonight and had a simple message for people who make racist comments.

"Open up your mind and be inclusive," he urged.

 "People who make these comments - it is just a lack of education. Open up to different cultures because it is the reality of our country. You need to start accepting people from different backgrounds."

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