The Centre for Islamic Sciences and Civilisation (CISAC) at Charles Sturt University in partnership with Islamic Science & Research Academy (ISRA) held its yearly graduation presentation on Saturday 7 December at The Waterview, Sydney Olympic Park. 

The yearly held ISRA graduations are a unique combination of intellectual, academic, emotional and spiritual experience held in a dignified yet family-friendly atmosphere.

Fifteen successful graduates received their Diplomas, Associate Degrees, Bachelor degrees, Graduate Diploma and Master degrees CSU academics Professor Ross Chambers, Former Vice Chancellor of CSU and A/Professor Clive Pearson, Research Professor at the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology.

The successful candidates were from a very diverse background in terms of ethnic background, faith, language, professions, religious training and ages.

Prof Ross Chambers, during his address, pointed out that Two students enrolled at ISRA graduated with University medals from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in 2019. Only 6 students won medals this year from a total population of 40,000 students enrolled at CSU.

The formal graduation ceremony was also attended by ISRA and Charles Sturt University academics, community leaders and families of the graduates.

In addition to brief comments by staff, the graduates also shared their feelings from the stage in a one-minute speech, many of them shedding tears of joy at the completion of their unique educational journey and thanked their spouses, parents and children for their support.

Prof Ross Chambers: Two students enrolled at ISRA have graduated with University medals from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in 2019. Only 6 students won medals this year from a total population of 40,000 students enrolled at CSU.

The keynote address at the 2019 graduation was delivered by Ms Hanifa Deen, an award-winning West Australian born author of Pakistani-Muslim descent currently living in Melbourne.

The formal program started with welcome by the MC and acknowledgement of the presence of invited guests followed by recitation of Quran by Mr Ahmet Ozturk.

A/Prof Mehmet Ozalp speaking at the ISRA graduation ceremony 2019.

Speaking on behalf of ISRA staff A/Prof Mehmet Ozalp talked about the achievements of ISRA in teaching and research since its establishment in 2009.

He acknowledged the great opportunities that Muslim migrants and their descendants found in this country in order to excel in their chosen field of endeavour.

Dr Ozalp also talked about the challenges Muslim community faced just like other fellow Australians in the areas of adolescent youth, domestic violence, integration and adjustment.

He pointed out the breakthrough research in the field of Islamophobia in Australia led by Dr Derya Iner, lecturer at ISRA the second report on the subject released in November 2019 was reported by 305 news channels throughout the world.

Ms Hanifa Deen during her keynote address delivered in her unique way of storytelling talked about her experiences growing up in white Australia and shared her research into Australian Muslim heritage that led to her becoming a prolific writer.

The successful graduates were called one by one to the stage to receive their testamurs and address the audience for a minute where they reflected on their time spent with fellow students and teachers during their journey at ISRA and thanked their family for support for a great outcome.

A number of students passed their courses with distinction while two of them Asmah Samsuddeen who completed Bachelor of Islamic Studies and Grant Kynaston who completed Master of Islamic Studies passed with university medals.

A couple of mother and daughter teams graduated together, daughter Zeinab Mourad and mum Susan Mourad were awarded Master of Islamic Studies while mum Waeza Mohamed Osman received Bachelor of Islamic Studies degree while daughter Sheyemah Osman received Graduate Certificate in Islamic Studies.

Zeinab Mourad, left and mum Susan Mourad, right.

The formal program ended with concluding remarks by Dr Zuleyha Keskin, a popular and much loved lecturer at ISRA Melbourne who shared encounters with her current students during their unique journey.

ISAC is a unique institution where its courses are designed to synthesise modern academic excellence in combination with traditional Islamic learning.

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 locally trained religious and scholarly leaders in serving Australian community.