Mehmet Ozalp, Director of CISAC

The Sydney based Islamic Sciences & Research Academy (ISRA) will be opening a branch in Melbourne at the beginning of 2015 academic year offering their popular courses in Islamic studies locally to the Melburnians.

ISRA, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University established the Centre for Islamic Studies & Civilisations (CISAC) in 2009 to provide a platform for cooperation between Australian Muslims and educational institutions in Australia.

Now in its fifth year of offering degree programmes, ISRA held its second graduation presentation on Saturday 13 December at The Waterview, Sydney Olympic Park awarding Graduate Diplomas, Bachelor and Masters degrees to the successful candidates.

The formal event was also attended by ISRA and Charles Sturt University academics, community leaders and families of the graduates where, in addition to brief comments by staff, the graduates also shared their feelings from the stage.

ISRA graduates this year were from a very diverse background in terms of ethnic background, language, professions, religious training and ages ranging from early 20’s to 80’s.

Usama Qazi, a Hafiz Quran from Melbourne got his Bachelors degree in Islamic Studies and Mohammad Sahu Khan, a lawyer/prosecutor from Canberra obtained a Masters in Islamic Studies.


Usama Qazi with academic staff

Razia Ghaznavi a mother of five was awarded the degree of Masters of Islamic Studies with distinction and will be publishing a paper with her supervisor Dr Derya Iner with prospects for commencing a PhD.


Dr Derya Iner addressing the graduates


Razia Ghaznavi, awarded the degree of Masters of Islamic Studies with distinction

Silma Ihram a well known community leader and a grandmother was awarded her third Masters degree warmly applauded by a large contingent of family and friends gathered for the occasion.


Silma Ihram, awarded her third Masters degree

Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp, the Director of CISAC, while addressing each of the graduates announced the establishment of the Melbourne branch that will be headed by Zuleykha Keskin, the Course director. She will be replaced by Dr Salih Yucel, a Monah University academic.

Dr Saleh Yucel who has degrees from the University of Ankara, the University of Sydney and Boston University will bring a combination of academic excellence and rich experience in community development gained from three continents.

The honorary guest at the ISRA graduation ceremony, Dr Abu Ibrahim Muhammad, the Mufti of Australia in his keynote address while emphasising the combination of academic studies with faith based training for a healthy community, commended ISRA for the pioneering role it is playing for achieving these outcomes.

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. ISRA courses prepare its students to get actively involved in dealing with issues facing the Australian society and, in the process, assist in the development of local religious and scholarly leaders.

ISRA is a point of reference for Islamic education, resources and information services. It conducts pioneering research on social and religious issues of relevance to the Australian society and international community.

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 contemporary world.

A/Prof Mehmet Ozalp related that ISRA and CISAC came into being with initial dialogue initiated by Mehmet Seral of Affinity Intercultural Association and the Charles Sturt University resulting in the signing of a MoU between them.

Following the landmark national launch in Canberra, the Islamic Sciences & Research Academy of Australia was officially launched at historic Sydney’s Customs House on Tuesday, 23 March 2010.

In collaboration with the City of Sydney Council, Affinity Intercultural Foundation and Living in Harmony Festival 2010, this inaugural program had key representations from the academia, religious, media, secular and community sectors across New South Wales. From the Vice Chancellor of Charles Sturt University to the CEO of Jewish Board of Deputies to the President of the Buddhist Council of Australia, Imams and councillors and other community-based leaders, such a high and diverse calibre of guests were all acknowledged by the Master of Ceremonies, by name.

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.

ISRA has recently revised, and improved all 3 course we have on offer, the Bachelor of Islamic Studies, Master of Islamic Studies and the Master of Arts (Classical Arabic). These revised courses will take effect in 2015 session 1.

There are around 300 students currently enrolled at ISRA in various Diploma, Bachelors and Masters degrees in Islamic Studies and Arabic Language.


There will be a special information session Sat 17 January for those interested in ISRA courses. This will be a great opportunity to meet the Director of CISAC and other lecturers and understand what ISRA offers in face to face discussions,


For further information and registration for the information session call ISRA by phone 9649 9040 or contact via email [email protected] .