Mohamad Abdalla


PhD, Islamic Studies Griffith University

Research Interests

Islamic Studies (Research and Teaching)


Professor Abdalla worked in the field of Islamic Studies for over 25 years and played a leading role in establishing Islamic Studies across few Australian universities. In 2020, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service, for his significant service to education in the field of Islamic studies.

In 2006, he established and led the Griffith University Islamic Research Unit (GIRU), at Griffith University in Brisbane. In 2008, he played a key role in 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 served as the Director of the NCEIS at Griffith University until 2016. In 2016, he was invited by the Vice Chancellor (VC) and President of the University of South Australia (UniSA) to establish the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE), where he continues to serve as its Director. Throughout these initiatives, he has attracted more than $15 Million in funding.

He has successfully supervised to completion more than 20 HDR candidates. Currently, he is supervising and co-supervising 10 HDR candidates.

His PhD thesis examined ‘The Fate of Islamic Science between the 11th and 16th Centuries: A Critical Study of Scholarship from Ibn Khaldun to the Present.’ He has two Majors in the History and Philosophy of Science; Science, Technology and Society; and a Minor in Environmental and Science Policy Studies. He holds an Ijazat at-Tadris (Islamic license to teach and transmit Qur’an recitation) according to Hafs ‘an ‘Asim. Over the last 25 years, he studied various branches of traditional Islamic sciences from multiple scholars and autodidactically.

Professor Abdalla has used his formal educational training and extensive community experience to serve the Australian communities. He continues to work very closely with Imams and elders of the Muslim communities, women’s organisations, young Muslims, and the many various organisations. He does not see Australian Muslims as a subject of inquiry inscribed by 'otherness', but as an integral part of who he is. He has served as an Acting Imam of the Kuraby Mosque in Brisbane, which was burnt down 2 weeks after 9/11. He continues to serve at several mosques in Adelaide where he delivers the Friday sermons and offer community classes. He has also worked very closely with the wider Australian communities and helped build bridges of understandings and break down barriers through factual knowledge-sharing and intercultural relationships. he was fully engaged with communities after 9/11, the Cronulla Riots, the Bali Bombings, the QLD floods of 2011 and recently the Christchurch massacre.

Professor Abdalla attained several civic awards including: Community Leadership Award; Islamic Council of Queensland Community Service Award; Crescents of Brisbane Special Achievement Award; Australian Muslim Man of the year; Ambassador for Peace Award; and Pride of Australia Medal (Finalist). He served on several academic, community and NGO boards, including: Editorial Board of Humanomics (Emerald Publishing); Management Board of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies; Vice-President and Spokesperson of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC); advisor to Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier of QLD; Chairperson of the Queensland Muslim Community Reference Group and more.

His publications include Islamic schooling in the West: Pathways to Renewal (Palgrave MacMillan), Leadership in Islam: Processes and Solutions in Australian Organizations (Palgrave MacMillan), and Islam and the Australian News Media (Melbourne University Press); Curriculum renewal for Islamic education: Critical perspectives on teaching Islam in primary and secondary schools (Routledge) and Islamic Science: The Myth of the Decline Theory.

His current research interests are examining Islamic studies in Islamic schools from the perspectives of stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, and leaders); designing and writing a national Islamic studies curriculum; and exploring the historical interconnectedness of the Islamic & Western civilisations.