21 November 2016

It has been almost three months since the launch of the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE). The University of South Australia has welcomed us warmly and our colleagues at the School of Education have been fantastic. Although it has only been three months so much has been achieved already.

The official launch on 16th August 2016, attracted about 500 people including the former Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Bob Hawke, Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Multicultural Affairs and Youth, the Honourable Zoe Bettison, and other dignitaries. At the launch, I spoke about the importance of interconnectedness of civilisations (especially Islam and the West), and the dangers of depicting the ‘other’ pejoratively. In his vote of thanks, Mr. Hawke offered some pertinent words of wisdom about the perils of human conflict and the way forward.

At the heart of CITE’s philosophy is the empowerment of communities through research, teaching and engagement. Consequently, CITE’s team has engaged in numerous activities with Muslims and wider Australian communities. This has included engagement with the Council of Imams of South Australia; Islamic Society of South Australia; Muslim Women’s Association of South Australia; Catholic Education; religious leaders from the Baptist, Uniting Church, Churches of Christ and SA Council of Churches; Muslim Students’ Association; Intercultural Connections; CEO of Port Adelaide AFL Club; and SAPOL. We also helped and participated in the Marion Mosque Open day.

Our CITE team members have also presented at a number of local and international conferences, and on the 16th of November, I will be delivering a keynote address at the World Islamic Countries University Leaders’ Summit in Malaysia. Dr Ibrahim organised CITE’s first 2-Day workshop which was entitled ‘Muslim Parenting Toolbox.’ Nadia Selim and Dylan Chown facilitated and successfully ran teacher-training programs for the local Islamic Saturday School. Dylan Chown, Nezar Faris and I presented at the Australian Catholic University. Dylan and I also presented at the Islamic Schooling Education Conference in Sydney and Hafsa Khan gave an excellent lecture to UniSA law students on human rights in Islam.

We have also begun work on few teacher-training programs with an Islamic pedagogy specialisation for teachers in Islamic schools or teachers with high volumes of Muslim students. The three Islamic pedagogy specialisation programs that we are developing are the first of their kind in Australia and will be available from 2018. They include a Master of Teaching – (secondary); Graduate Certificate; and Graduate Diploma. We are also working on a Minor in Islamic Studies to be offered in the second semester of 2017 or early in 2018.

Dylan Chown along with colleagues from around the country, headed by Glenn Amezdroz and Sue Dickens, published a new Health and Physical Education (HPE) textbook for the Australian Curriculum series by Cambridge University Press. This is sure to be well received by the many dedicated HPE practitioners nationally. In addition to contributing to the Year 7/8 textbook, Dylan consulted across the series (7/8 & 9/10) in a ground-breaking and innovative Alternate Version. We are also finalising two books to be published next year by Palgrave MacMillan: Islamic Schooling in the West: Pathways to Renewal (edited by Abdalla, Chown and Abdullah), and Leadership in Islam: Processes and Solutions in Australian Organisations (edited by Faris and Abdalla). Dr Nathie has already submitted three journal articles.

We encourage you to visit us in person and check our website for further information.