Our People

Academic staff 

Professor Mohamad Abdalla

Centre Director, Professor Mohamad Abdalla is one of Australia’s most prominent and respected Muslim leaders, combining the roles of an academic scholar, public intellectual, community leader and commentator. Over the last 15 years, Prof Abdalla played a leading role in establishing Islamic Studies (Research and Teaching) as an academic area of study in Australia. In 2005, he established the Griffith University Islamic Research Unit (GIRU), and gradually built a team of academics on modest resources. From 2006-2014, he was successful in attracting more than $1.3 million in funding, which helped build staff capacity in Islamic Studies at Griffith University. In 2008, he played a key role in securing $8 Million for the establishment of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (NCEIS), a dynamic collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Griffith University and the University of Western Sydney. He also played a key role in establishing Islamic Studies as a Major across three universities. Professor Abdalla’s international reputation attracted a number of prominent RHD candidates including the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, and Mr. Khalid Abdul who after completing his Masters with Prof Abdalla became the former Chief Minister of Selangor, Malaysia. Prof Abdalla has successfully supervised more than 20 PhD, Masters and Honours students. His first two PhD graduates achieved the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence, and one achieved the Chancellor’s Medal for exceptional performance.

Prof Abdalla’s research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as Griffith Law Review, and book publishers such as the University of Melbourne Press, Routledge; Palgrave Macmillan and Edward Elgar. He has published 1 monograph; 1 co-edited book, and over 25 Journal articles and book chapters.  He has two forthcoming edited books: Islamic schooling in the West: Pathways to Renewal (Palgrave MacMillan), and Leadership in Islam: Processes and Solutions in Australian Organizations (Palgrave MacMillan). Professor Abdalla participated in numerous high-profile invitations to conferences, speaker events (20 keynote addresses), summits (Prime Minister Kevin Rudd 2020 Summit); high-profile public lectures (such as responding to the historic speech of the Dalai Lama at St Stephen’s Cathedral on behalf of a congregation of religious leaders); diplomatic visit (to the USA to advise Australia’s Ambassador on Islamic issues; and a diplomatic guest of the Australian High Commissioner Brunei Darussalam).

Prof Abdalla is recognised as a leader whose work has had positive social impact. This is clearly demonstrated in his leadership role after 9/11 where he led a reconciliation strategy to build bridges of understanding between the Australian Muslim and wider communities.  He was also involved in high-profile media engagement (appeared twice on the ABC Q&A Program), and attained numerous civic awards, including: The Lord Mayor Australia Day Achievement Award; Community Leadership Award; Ambassador for Peace Award; and Pride of Australia Medal (Finalist). 

Prof Abdalla has served on a number of academic, government and community boards: Editorial Board of International Journal; Management Board of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies; advisor to Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier of QLD; Vice President, the Al-Azhar University Office in Australia; Chairperson of the Queensland Muslim Community Reference Group; and Vice-President and Spokesperson of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC). 


Dr Nada Ibrahim

Dr Nada Ibrahim has a PhD in Islamic Studies (Criminology). Dr Ibrahim’s expertise is family relationships (especially addressing domestic and family violence at grassroots levels) with particular emphasis on the Australian Muslim community. She was recently engaged in a national research on the enforcement of domestic violence protection orders across Australia (forthcoming co-authored publications). She has also researched how Muslim victims/survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) interact with the Australian criminal justice system, documented the prevalence of DFV within the Muslim community and identified the risk-factors associated with DFV perpetration and victimisation. She is currently in the process of establishing some strength-based community-related projects that address psychological/social/religious needs of victims, abusers, children, men and women to build healthy family relationships whilst empowering the Muslim community. Part of this process also involves equipping Imams/leaders, wider community, service providers, police and the justice system with culturally appropriate training that would better facilitate a community coordinated response to violence. Her research interests include intimate partner violence, family relationships, community development, Islamic psychology, mental health, Islamic family law, disadvantaged Muslim women’s issues, and broader Islamic issues.


Dr Nezar Faris

Dr Nezar Faris is a scholar in Management and Leadership with a focus on the context of Muslim organisations in the West. He holds a PhD in (Leadership) from Griffith University’s   National   Centre   of   Excellence   for   Islamic   Studies   (NCEIS). Currently, he is working on different journal articles and a book to be published from his doctoral thesis. His research interests include Leadership processes, power procedures and transitions, ethical leadership, sense making and cultural complexity.


Dr Mahmood Nathie

Dr Mahmood Nathie is a scholar and practitioner of Islamic Finance. Holding a PhD in Islamic Studies (Islamic Finance) from Griffith University’s National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (NCEIS), he is a qualified CPA in Australia as well as a former chartered accountant in South Africa.  He has lectured and written extensively on Islamic finance and presented papers at international conferences. He holds a number of posts associated with charitable and community work.


Mr. Dylan Chown


Dylan Chown is a Research Fellow and the Program Director for Islamic Education in the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE), School of Education. Dylan has twenty years’ experience in education combing roles of teacher, principal, consultant, researcher and lecturer. He is a passionate advocate for Islamic schools and Islamic education in Australia. Dylan is also a member of an International network of educators on the Islamic Teacher Education Program (ITEP), a project of Razi Education (Canada, UAE). He completed a Master of Education (Leadership) through the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (NCEIS), Griffith University, examining education leadership and school vision. His research interests include Islamic pedagogy, character education, teacher training and Islamic research methodology. Dylan is currently involved in a number of research projects associated with the CITE signature project – Islamic schooling renewal. These include whole-school renewal projects in multiple Islamic schools; the design and development of a National Islamic Studies Curriculum; and the development of Dignified Way, a whole community model for character education and classroom management for Islamic schools which he co-designed. Dylan was also instrumental in the establishment of the now annual whole-of-field Islamic education gatherings in Australia, the Islamic Education Forum (for educators and practitioners) and the Islamic Schooling Conference (for researchers, educationalists and leaders). Dylan’s PhD research focuses on Islamic pedagogy in Australian Islamic schools and aims to further efforts towards renewal and inform teaching training for teachers of Muslim students. He is a co-editor of Islamic schooling in the West: Pathways to renewal (Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming). Dylan regularly presents on contemporary issues within Islamic education locally and abroad.


Mr. Dylan Chown


Ramila Chanisheff has worked in both public and private universities, and previously in the corporate sector. She is responsible for developing and implementing the Centre’s strategic plan and planning activities, ensuring it integrates and aligns with the strategic business development plans of the Division and the University.


Professional Staff

Jen Manning

Jen Manning has been working at UniSA since 2008. Her roles have been wide and varied. Jen is Personal Assistant to the Centre Director and provides key assistance for the Centre’s staff and research administration activities.

PhD Scholars

Nadia Selim

Nadia Selim is an Arabic teacher. With a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics (University of Queensland) and a Vocational graduate certificate in TESOL and English Language development (SBIT in Queensland), Nadia turned her attention to Arabic and focuses on methods that improve the effectiveness, relevance and retention rates of Arabic programs. Nadia is interested in Computer Assisted Language Learning; rhythm for memory and the rediscovery of Islamic thought on Arabic teaching. Nadia continues to work on the development of an Arabic program for non-native speakers, an Arabic website, Mobile App, Social networking sites and open source content. Nadia taught at the Institute of Modern Languages (University of Queensland) from 2012-2016 and is currently working on a PhD thesis at the University of South Australia (CITE) that examines Arabic language learning at Islamic Schools in Australia..

Hafsa Khan

Hafsa Khan is an Australian Muslim born to parents from the Pashtun tribal north of Pakistan. She is a Lawyer by qualification and her PhD thesis focuses on cultural and traditional norms relating to marriage practices in the Pashtun Muslim majority province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in North Pakistan. Her research aims to investigate the interplay between culture and Islamic law in order to determine the role culture plays in upholding practices that may contradict Islamic legal principles. Her research also seeks to ascertain the attitudes of Pashtun Muslims with the aim of effecting legal reform in order to work towards realising the legal rights of women in Muslim cultural societies, both within the scope of Islamic and international human rights law.

Muhammad Abdullah

Muhammad Abdullah has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Arabic and MiddleEastern Studies. From 1985 to 1990 he worked with the Department of Defence Navy until he returned to university in 1990 to complete a Diploma of Education in secondary mathematics. He began teaching in 1992 at Cleveland Street, a Government High School in Alexandria NSW. In 2001 he completed a Graduate Diploma of Education (English Literacy) at the University of Sydney. He later became a teacher of senior Aboriginal Studies. In 2005 he was appointed Chief Examiner of Aboriginal Studies and a senior marker in 2007. He was appointed Supervisor of Marking in 2015. Additionally, Abdullah has extensive knowledge of, and experience with, the Australian Muslim communities. For over 30 years he has volunteered his time for the empowerment of the Australian Muslim communities, giving valuable support to many of its members and organisations. Abdullah’s PhD focuses on a ground breaking project titled ‘The Formulation of a Pedagogical Framework for Islamic Schools in Australia.’ In 2016 his early findings were published in the peer reviewed journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal . He is a co-author of a forthcoming book titled Islamic Schooling in the West: Pathways to Renewal (Palgrave).

Carolyn McCosh

Carolyn McCosh has completed a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Professional Education and Training at Deakin University. She has extensive experience working in education and training in the Middle East, Asia and Australia where she has lived teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). Through working with people from different cultural backgrounds including Arabic, Chinese and other nationalities she has gained a strong understanding of the different customs and religious practices of each culture.

Carolyn’s PhD research focuses on the education reform in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where she spent two years working as an Advisor for an education consultancy in a local school improving the English Language levels of the Principal and Arabic Teacher’s as well as assisting to plan professional development to enhance the pedagogical skills of the Arabic Teachers. Her research aims to understand the barriers to education reform in Abu Dhabi including the cross-cultural challenges of changing pedagogical practices in the classroom.

Areas of study and research

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