Established in 2009, ISRA Australia (Islamic Sciences & Research Academy of Australia) is a product of the dialogue movement in Australia. It is a platform for cooperation between Australian Muslims and educational institutions in Australia. While ISRA has a strong educational and research emphasis, it also focuses on community building and cooperation in religious, social, environmental and other major areas for Australia and the global society.
When Muslims migrated to Australia in large numbers from 1967 onwards, they had to first meet their basic economic needs before going through a long settlement phase during the 80s and the 90s. The new millennium coincided with the Muslim community opening up to the wider society through organisations such as Affinity Intercultural Foundation. Counter-intuitively, 9/11 accelerated this process when interfaith and intercultural works brought together people from diverse backgrounds in projects facilitating social interaction.
The relationships established through dialogue gave the opportunity to venture into larger projects to deal with issues which were common to all. ISRA marks the beginning of the fourth phase of migration where Muslims actively get involved in dealing with issues facing the Australian society and, in the process, assist in the development of local religious and scholarly leaders.
We are part of a historical process of reconciliation. We do not want a world full of hatred, injustice and violence. Muslims living in the West and, in our case, in Australia have an important role to fulfil.
Our core principles guide our decision making process as well as steer individual and organisational behaviour.
- Sincerity – in intention and action
- Positive Action – in every situation
- Service – to God and humanity
- Excellence – in practices and outcomes
- Balance – in self, life and organisation
- Consultation – with all stakeholders
Mission to Serve
ISRA is a point of reference for Islamic education, resources and information services. ISRA conducts pioneering research on social and religious issues of relevance to the Australian society and international community.
ISRA engages and cooperates with individuals and institutions in Australia and abroad in order to actively contribute to social harmony, cultural diversity and religious values.
ISRA develops and enriches the Australian Muslim identity through well grounded Islamic scholarly knowledge coupled with the awareness of contemporary issues and ideas facing Australia and the world.
Uniqueness of ISRA
ISRA is an organisation established by Australian Muslims for the people of Australia. ISRA is unique in a number of ways:
- Members and volunteers of ISRA come from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
- Men and women work together at all levels of the organisation.
- English is spoken in meetings and programs.
- Members and volunteers are mainly second generation Muslims.
With all these characteristics, ISRA adds value to the development of the Muslim Community in Australia while providing a unique perspective on issues facing our country.
High School Educational Services
Building on the work done since 2004, ISRA will continue to work with high schools to assist in delivering religious education where world religions are taught as part of the Studies of Religion subject.
ISRA offers services to cover the Islamic curriculum through school visits and seminars to facilitate the delivery of content for students and teachers. ISRA have developed teaching resources in line with Studies of Religion curriculum. ISRA also provides consulting services to publishers on high school text books.
ISRA will work with Muslim youth and provide opportunities for their development. Muslim youth will be assisted with educational programs, recreational activities and practical opportunities to empower them with the knowledge and skills needed to become contributing members in both the Muslim community and the Australian society.
ISRA is ardently ready to work with theological colleges to foster dialogue and understanding between scholars and intellectuals of diverse backgrounds. ISRA is prepared to cooperate with theological institutions to produce publications that will contribute to religious harmony.
Academia and Research
The founders of ISRA have been involved in interfaith and intercultural work for about a decade. This extensive experience gives them unique insight into issues. Not only do they have the knowledge and understanding of the Australian people and the institutions, but they also have an appreciation and awareness of Islam and the Muslim community. As a result of such insight and the relationships developed within the community, they provide tangible educational value for Australia. Hence, ISRA is well positioned to provide educational and information services in a number of platforms.
ISRA will work with universities to provide undergraduate and postgraduate units in Islamic Studies and Interfaith Education. The first of these educational cooperation projects has been started with Charles Sturt University at the beginning of 2010.
ISRA will initiate and conduct research on social and religious matters of relevance to the people of Australia and publish its findings. ISRA will also provide services to universities and other organisations who are conducting research relating to the Muslim community.