About Us

Director's Message

Salam, I would like to welcome you on behalf of the wonderful staff, members and volunteers of ISRA. I am grateful to God in witnessing everyday as I watch ISRA grow and make a difference in people’s lives. I couldn’t be happier to have you be part of the journey. My vision for ISRA was to provide a platform for the Muslim community to flourish in their Islamic academia and a place of service and solidarity as Muslims from all walks of life, culture, gender and age come together in the spirit of a community. I am very humbled for ISRA to become one of the leading Muslim community and educational institutions in Australia over the last decade. With your participation and support, I am certain that it will continue to make considerable contribution to our people of Australia and increasingly so the international community. ISRA is a warm, welcoming place with a focus on the development of the Muslim community spirit and a sense of unified Australian Muslim identity. Our identity supported by the values of knowledge, faith and service becomes our compass in everything that happens at ISRA. We have a dynamic learning environment with highly trained lecturers and teachers for every individual to thrive. Thank you for your interest in ISRA as your gateway into knowledge. We hope you gain what you hoped for and more in engaging with ISRA. Please take the time to browse through our website to gain the most out of ISRA through the various programs tailored for different stages of one’s journey of the mind and the heart. Thank you for taking interest at ISRA and I look forward to your acquaintance with the people and services of ISRA. With my warmest wishes.

Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp

ISRA Academy is a point of reference for Islamic education and community service. We combine the scholarly tradition of Islam with academic excellence. We foster the development and enrichment of the Australian Muslim identity in faith, knowledge and service.

Mission Statement

More About Us

Meet the Team

Abdul Hadi
Shah Idil

Arabic Course Coordinator

Ahmad
Hassan

Islamic Studies Lecturer

Ahmet
Ozturk

Sydney Centre Manager

Dr Derya
Iner

Research Coordinator

Elvira
Hodzic

Sydney Centre Receptionist

Emna
Malas

Arabic Studies Lecturer

Dr Hakan
Coruh

Higher Degrees Coordinator

A/Prof Mehmet
Ozalp

Director

Dr Mahsheed
Ansari

Islamic Studies Lecturer

Omer
Ergi

Islamic Studies Lecturer

Rahil
Ansari

Course Admin Officer

Sadeq
Ansari

Islamic Studies Lecturer

A/Prof Salih
Yucel

Islamic Studies Lecturer

Suhail
Noor

Arabic Studies Lecturer

Shakeel
Tariq

Arabic Studies Lecturer

Dr Suleyman
Sertkaya

Islamic Studies Lecturer

Zeinab
Mourad

Melbourne Centre Receptionist

Zeliha
Baydogan

Ladies Welfare Coordinator

A/Prof Zuleyha
Keskin

Course Director

Eman
Hamed

Studies of Religion Coorindator

Celebrating 10 years

In 2020, ISRA Australia has celebrated the 10-Year community service anniversary. Over the last decade, ISRA has become one of the major not-for profit institutions with dedicated staff and volunteers providing Islamic education and community service to both Australian Muslims and the wider Australian society.

Graduation

Yearly graduation for our Islamic and Arabic students

Eid Picnic

Celebrating Eid with the community

Spirit of Ramadan Iftar

Yearly Iftar dinner for the community

Youth College

Building the Australian Muslim Identity

Abdul Hadi Shah Idil

ashah-idil@csu.edu.au

Abdul Hadi Shah Idil is an Arabic language instructor, specialising in teaching classical Arabic via traditional methods. After graduating with first class honours in Economics, Abdul Hadi pursued further study of Arabic at Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan. He received instruction in the field of Classical Arabic under the tutelage of Shaikh Ali Hani, also undertaking study of Islamic jurisprudence, theology, tafsir and hadith methodology. After returning to Australia in 2012, he has continued his studies under local and international teachers and has taught at various institutions including SeekersHub Sydney and Daar Ibn Abbas.

Ahmad Hassan

ahassan@csu.edu.au

Ahmad received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Wollongong in 1984. He has also held various senior leadership roles with Australian and multi-national corporations across a number of industry sectors. He has also completed a number of leadership and management training courses throughout his corporate career. Ahmad has completed his Master in Islamic Studies from Charles Sturt University in 2013. His assentation addressed the role of the financial regulatory authorities in Islamic finance in Australia. Ahmad is currently preparing a submission for a research thesis in Islamic Finance and its future development in Australia. Ahmad has been teaching courses in Islamic studies since 2013 in topics related to Islamic ethics, Islam in the modern world and the theology of Qur’an. He has also been actively involved in the design and implementation of a number of initiatives related to Islamic finance, youth education, studies of classical Arabic, contemporary Islamic studies and the Australian Journal of Islamic Studies.

Ahmet Ozturk

aozturk@isra.org.au

Ahmet Ozturk has been engaged in Qur’an learning and teaching from a very young age. He holds Ijaazaat (licences to teach) in the recitation of the Quran and multiple world-renowned Tajweed Poetry. He has completed a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering and Commerce at University of Sydney and Masters of Islamic Studies at Charles Sturt University.

Dr Derya Iner

diner@csu.edu.au

Derya Iner is the research coordinator and senior lecturer at the CISAC. Derya completed her PhD in Cultural Studies (major) and Gender and Women’s Studies (minor) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), USA in 2011. While doing so, she also taught two subjects per semester. In her dissertation, she studied the intellectual debates in the Turkey’s transformation era from the empire to the republic. She particularly focused on the mostly debated topics of the time by the Westernist, Islamist and nationalist intellectuals. These topics were constitutionalism, status of women, educational reforms, minorities, and nationalism.

Elvira Hodzic

elvira@isra.org.au

Emna Malas

emalas@csu.edu.au

Dr Hakan Coruh

hcoruh@csu.edu.au

Hakan Coruh holds his Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Faculty of Divinity, Sakarya University. In 2007, he completed his Master’s degree in Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir) at the same university. Between 2003 and 2008, he took advantage of academic circles and centres such as İSAM (Centre for Islamic Studies) in Istanbul, one of the major cities for Islamic studies in the Muslim World. He then completed his PhD at Australian Catholic University in 2015. His PhD research is on early modern exegesis of the Qur’an. Hakan is currently a lecturer, and supervisor of HDR students at CISAC, CSU. Hakan’s main field is Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir). He teaches and writes on Qur’anic studies, classical exegesis, and contemporary approaches to the Qur’an and Islam. He is interested in the classical and modern Qur’an exegesis, contemporary Islamic thought, Islamic Legal Theories (usul al-fiqh) and Jurisprudence (fiqh), Islamic theology, and interfaith relations.

A/Prof Mehmet Ozalp

mozalp@csu.edu.au

Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp is a theologian, author and academic and the founding director of the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) at CSU. He is an executive member of Public and Contextual Theology (PaCT), a research centre at CSU. Mehmet studied Islamic theology and religious disciplines between 1990 to 1998. He has completed Masters in Religion from the University of Sydney. He has also completed various professional courses in management and leadership. Mehmet has pioneered designing and conducting Islamic courses in English within the Muslim Community from 2000. He has developed and written material for numerous courses on Islamic theology, history and contemporary issues around Islam, including a four-year advanced course titled Theology of Qur’an. Mehmet has lectured in Islamic courses as part of Sydney University’s Continuing Education Program from 2003 to 2008. He has also lectured on Islamic theology, culture and history at the University of Newcastle from 2007 to 2010.

Dr Mahsheed Ansari

mansari@csu.edu.au

Dr Mahsheed Ansari is lecturer in Islam and Contemporary Islamic Studies and the Higher Degrees Research Coordinator at the Centre for Islamic Studies & Civilisation, Charles Sturt University. She is also community activist working in the areas of interfaith dialogue, social harmony and leadership-mentoring programs with Muslim youth and Muslim women for over a decade. Mahsheed has a double degree in Law and Arts, majoring in History, Politics and Philosophy, from the Western Sydney University. In 2009, she completed a Master of Arts in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Sydney university. Her research dissertation explored the ‘Concept of Sharia in the thought of Said Nursi’. Mahsheed has also completed her PhD in Historical Studies and Islamic Studies from Monash University. Her doctoral thesis is titled ‘The rational and metaphysical notions of prophethood and the Prophet Muhammad in the thought of Said Nursi and Muhammad Iqbal’.

Omer Ergi

aergi@csu.edu.au

Omer A. Ergi is an Islamic theologian and an author of six books. Omer has been involved with Islamic sciences since 1990. He has been involved on the editorial board of various Islamic magazine publications. He has taught Islam in various study circles since 1995. Omer has delivered speeches at a number of conferences and panels at La Trobe University, Monash University, Victoria University and Melbourne University. Omer also contributed to the activities of the Australian Intercultural Society as a board member and Executive Advisor from the 2002 to 2010 during which he also published a magazine titled Dialogue Asia-Pacific. In 2013 he completed his Masters in Islamic Studies at CSU and currently completing his PhD in Islamic Studies. Omer is a recipient of a number of awards for his contributions to dialogue and social harmony.

Rahil Ansari

ransari@csu.edu.au

Rahil has completed her Bachelor of Nursing at Sydney University in 2008 and became a registered Nurse in 2009. After working in the Nursing field for nearly three years, Rahil commenced at Affinity Intercultural Foundation in 2010, where she served as an Executive and Board member until 2012, and was involved with project managing many Interfaith and Intercultural community Dialogue conferences and events. Rahil is a guest speaker on Islamic beliefs and practices in many schools, community organizations, churches and Universities. She is also involved in many Interfaith programs and conferences. Rahil commenced employment in the Centre of Islamic Studies and Civilisation in 2012.

Sadeq Ansari

miansari@csu.edu.au

Sadeq has many years of youth and adult teaching experience. He has been running short courses on Islam such as ‘Overview of Islam’, ‘Advanced Islamic Studies’, and ‘Prophet Sirah: Life of Prophet Muhammad’ at the ISRA center. Sadeq is currently an executive member of ISRA Australia. He commenced working as a Subject Coordinator, Tutor and Welfare Coordinator at Charles Sturt University’s Centre of Islamic Studies and Civilisation in 2012.

A/Prof Salih Yucel

syucel@csu.edu.au

Associate Professor Salih Yucel completed his Bachelor of Islamic Theology – a five-year program and equivalent to undergraduate and Masters Degree – at the University of Ankara in 1982. Subsequent to attaining his Australian permanent-resident status, he completed Master of Theology at the University of Sydney in 1996. He continued his postgraduate studies in United States and completed his doctorate at Boston University in 2007. His doctoral research was on “The Effect of Prayer on Muslim Patients Well-being” Salih also worked as a Muslim Chaplain at Harvard Medical School’s hospitals for seven years. After ten years in the United States, he returned to Australia in 2007. A/Prof. Yucel worked as lecturer and senior lecturer at Centre for Religious Studies at Monash University between 2008-2014. Currently he teaches at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at Charles Sturt University in Sydney. He is also Provisional CPE Supervisor.

Suhail Noor

snoor@csu.edu.au

Suhail Noor is an Arabic instructor and tutor. After spending nineteen years in some of the gulf countries, he then travelled to Australia where he studied International Business at Macquarie University. Suhail studied the Arabic language throughout his stay in the Gulf countries. Since graduating in 2010, Suhail worked as a religion and values teacher. In 2013, Suhail has completed Master of Islamic Studies at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at CSU. In addition to working and studying, Suhail has been volunteering as an Arabic teacher for ISRA’s Youth College, as well as tutoring Arabic subjects. Currently, Suhail is one of the teaching staff of the Arabic subjects offered by CISAC. He is also the course coordinator of the Master of Arts (Classical Arabic).

Shakeel Tariq

stariq@isra.org.au

Dr Suleyman Sertkaya

ssertkaya@csu.edu.au

Suleyman Sertkaya graduated from the School of Divinity at University of Marmara, Istanbul in 2007. He pursued his MA in the Tafsir (exegesis) discipline of Islamic sciences, with a particular focus on the exegesis of the Qur’an. His thesis was titled An Analysis of Surah al-Kahf Based on the Subject-Based Qur’anic Exegesis Method which he completed in 2009. Suleyman completed his PhD thesis at Australian Catholic University on Sīrah genre. Currently, he is a lecturer at CISAC (Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation). Suleyman’s major interests are: Sīrah of the Prophet (Biography of Prophet Muhammad) and Sirah Philosophy, Interpretation of Islamic Sacred Texts, Tafsir (Exegesis of the Qur’an) and Hadīth (Prophetic Tradition) Disciplines, Islamic Theology, Comparative Theology, Radicalisation and Islam, Islam and Morality, Oral History, History of Islam and Muslims in Australia.

Zeinab Mourad

zmourad@csu.edu.au

Zeinab has completed her Bachelor of Youth Work and has completed her Masters of Islamic Studies with Charles Sturt University. She works for the Centre of Islamic studies and civilization in the ISRA Melbourne office. Supporting students from Pre-enrolment, up to their first year of studies. Zeinab’s roles include: Zeinab is also a First Year Academic Mentor – Zeinab also supports students academically with their studies.

Zeliha Baydogan

zbaydogan@csu.edu.au

Zeliha completed a Bachelor of Public Relations and Publicity at Istanbul University, Turkey, in 2005. After working at Cihan News Agency as a correspondent for two years, Zeliha moved to the Philippines and completed a Bachelor of Science Education at Central Colleges of the Philippines. After serving in the education field for 12 years in the Philippines, Zeliha moved to Australia in 2016 and commenced employment in the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy Australia (ISRA) as the Ladies Coordinator and Enrolment Officer. Zeliha is also an ISRA board member, Youth College Coordinator and involved in community services for various projects at ISRA.

A/Prof Zuleyha Keskin

zkeskin@csu.edu.au

Zuleyha is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director. Zuleyha co-founded ISRA Australia with the vision to establish university level Islamic studies courses which teach both traditional and contemporary Islamic studies in a university context.  This led to the establishment of the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) at CSU. She facilitated the development of Bachelor of Islamic Studies, Bachelor of Islamic Studies (Honours), Master of Islamic Studies, Master of Classical Arabic and Master of Contemporary Islamic Studies. Zuleyha has been the Course Director at CSU for these courses since their inception in 2010. She also lectures in Islamic Spirituality (Ihsan Essentials), Morality and Etiquette in Islam and Islam in the Modern World. Zuleyha is also the Managing Editor of the Australian Journal of Islamic Studies (AJIS) and the Vice President of the Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (AAIMS).

Eman Hamed

emanhamed@isra.org.au

Eman is currently completing her Psychology degree at Western Sydney University. She is passionate about empowering her community through knowledge, skills and conversation as she believes in the motto “Start local, then go Global”. Eman has previously been a programs facilitator where she delivered a range of literacy and wellbeing workshops to High School students in both private and public schools. She is currently working as the Outreach and SoR coordinator at ISRA where she organises and delivers a range of Islamic school talks to teachers and students around NSW and QLD.