SPEAKER PROFILES

Ayesha Ahmad

Ayesha Ahmad has lived in Sydney, Australia for over 45 years. Instilled with strong values of family and community, she completed her studies, established a career, married, had children and has recently become a grandmother. 

With this established skill set and life experiences, she is fulfilling her aspiration to serve the Muslim community by volunteering with the Islamophobia Register Australia and Islamic Special Religious Education. Currently completing the Clinical Pastoral Education in Islamic Chaplaincy accreditation with ISRA and Islamic studies at Daar Aisha College, Ayesha is well on her way to achieving her love for lifelong learning and bring about a positive contribution to the reputation of Islam.


Makiz Ansari

Since 2012 Makiz has been teaching Religion & Values and Studies of Religion  in Amity College and has been actively involved in the educational and well being of youth . 

 She also runs courses in Islam for diverse audiences and the community and has been teaching Theology of Quran courses at ISRA since 2014. She is in process of completing her Masters of Islamic Degree with CSU.

Makiz initially graduated with Political Economy and Government & International Studies from University of Sydney and had been a Research Assistant in Political Economy at Sydney University. She then went on to complete her teaching degree and has taught economics and social sciences in high schools but her further studies and social activism took her passion towards religion and theology. Makiz has been active in inter-faith and intercultural dialogue activities since 2003.


Calisha Bennett

Calisha Bennett has over twelve years of experience as an active community leader, speaker, teacher and mentor of Muslim women and youth. She is backed by academic, religious and personal studies in the areas of youth work, education, leadership, Islamic Shariah, Quran, Tajweed and specialises in Islamic identity coaching and personal development.

Calisha has taught and spoken for countless audiences in Muslim and non-Muslim communities. She is passionate about the future of Muslim communities and helping to strengthen the faith and Islamic identities of Muslim women and youth worldwide. 


Deniz Dagli

Deniz Dagli is a registered psychologist, currently completing her Master of Clinical Psychology. She has been providing psychological services and support to children, adolescents, adults and families for 10 years. She has helped many individuals, couples and families that come with a range of issues such as relationship conflict, stress, depression, anxiety, workplace challenges, complex trauma, psychosis, grief and loss, PTSD and bipolar disorder.She is passionate about serving the Muslim community and has been actively involved in various community activities such as interfaith dialogue, psycho education and leadership programs to adolescent in schools and workshops. Deniz believes in the resilience of the human soul and our innate drive towards healing and content.  She sees that life’s challenges, even in distress, are chances to change, grow and move forward. Deniz is a mother of two young boys. She has a special interest in family based therapy and supporting couples in their relationship and parenting difficulties.


Fathima Essop

Fathima is a Risk Management Professional with experience in the corporate sector as well as teaching at various institutions. She has a Bachelor's degree in Economics & Psychology, a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, and has been trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). 

Fathima is a mother 2 young children and has underwent comprehensive Islamic Parenting training and workshops. 

 She is passionate about raising our next generation of Muslim leaders and she is a youth coach for teenagers and young adults.

While being a dedicated parent, Fathima is a founding member of the ISRA Islamic Children's Library that is being set up for Muslim children to explore, learn about and be inspired by Islam in a fun and engaging way.



Heather Fagan 

Heather has been Muslim since 2009, during which time she has completed a Masters of Islamic Studies with Charles Sturt University and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Classical Arabic at Charles Sturt University.

Heather has been volunteering and working with ISRA since 2009, where she has undertaken many roles, including Principal of Youth College, Studies of Religion Coordinator, First Year Academic Mentor and New Muslim Coordinator. Heather has taught numerous community courses on Islam and is a guest speaker on Islam in schools and community organisations across the state.



Leila Khaled 





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