Staff and fellows


Professor Abdullah Saeed

Sultan of Oman Endowed Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies

Phone: +61 3 8344 6861
Fax: +61 3 9347 9542
Staff profile

Abdullah Saeed holds degrees from Australia and overseas. He has a BA in Arab/Islamic Studies from Saudi Arabia, MA in Applied Linguistics and Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) in Islamic Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia. In 1993, he joined the then Department of Asian Languages and Anthropology at the University of Melbourne as a Lecturer, rising to Senior Lecturer in 1996 and Associate Professor in 2000. He was appointed Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies in 2003.

Professor Saeed has taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at undergraduate and graduate levels. He is involved in interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and between Jews and Muslims, and is a frequent and popular lecturer. He travels widely, having visited North America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He has a wide range of professional and research relationships around the world.

Academic staff

Dr Muhammad Kamal

Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies

Phone: +61 3 8344 8197
Fax: +61 3 9349 4870
Staff profile

Dr Muhammad Kamal is a Kurd originally from Iraq. He obtained BA (Honours), MA and PhD in Philosophy at the University of Karachi and has a Diploma in Education from Teachers Institute in Erbil. He taught first as a lecturer then as an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Karachi from 1985 to 1994. In 1992 he went to Germany on a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship for postdoctoral research and has been based in Australia since 1994.

Dr Christina Mayer

Senior Lecturer in Arabic

Phone: +61 3 8344 495
Staff profile

Dr Christina Mayer is the Convenor of the Arabic Program. She is a graduate of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (degrees in Arabic, Turkish and Russian studies, undergraduate training in Libya and the USSR), with an MA in Applied Linguistics and Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) in Arabic and Islamic Studies (both awarded by the University of Melbourne), with research conducted in Morocco, Egypt and Syria. She first started working at the University of Melbourne in 1989. She is a prolific textbook writer and material developer. Her research interests in Arabic studies include language teaching for specific purposes and in Islamic studies the role of magic in modern Arab societies, particularly in the lives of women.

Associate Professor Richard Pennell

al-Tajir Lecturer in Middle East and Islamic History

Phone: +61 3 8344 5952
Fax: +61 3 8344 7894
Location: Room 07, Level 5, Arts West (Building 148), Parkville
Staff profile

Associate Professor Richard Pennell did both his BA (in Arabic and Spanish) and his PhD (in Islamic History) at the University of Leeds in Britain. Before joining the History program at the University of Melbourne he taught for nine years, on and off, at the National University of Singapore. He taught for two years at the University of Nairobi, in Kenya, in the late 1980s and has also taught in Garyounis University in Benghazi, Libya and at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. In the second half of 2003 he was a visiting scholar hosted by Al-Akhawayn University, at Ifrane in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Fellows and Associates

Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri

Dr Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri is a political scientist, economist, educationist and a scholar of religion and philosophy. He has written extensively on a wide range of topics and is the author of 25 books and over 50 research articles. He is currently the President of the Minhaj-ul-Quran International (an NGO, working in the areas of education, peace and counter-terrorism, women rights, children rights and poverty alleviation); Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors of Minhaj University Lahore (renowned National University in Pakistan) and Chairman of Minhaj Education Society (an Organisation running over 650 schools and colleges all over Pakistan); and the Chairman of the Al-Mawakhat Islamic Micro-Finance. He is Associate Professor at the School of Economics and Finance, Minhaj University, Lahore.

Dr Ali Akbar

Dr Akbar was awarded his PhD on 18 April 2018. His thesis was nominated for the University of Melbourne’s Vice Chancellor’s Prize and a revised version was published in 2019 by Edinburgh University Press.

Dr Akbar’s research interests include Quranic interpretation and the re-examination of traditional theories of revelation in Islam. He has worked as a research associate, sessional lecturer and tutor for the Asia Institute. Dr Akbar has published a number of articles in peer reviewed journals in the fields of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, politics and international relations and a book titled The Political Discourse of Backwardness among Contemporary Iranian Intellectuals, which was published in 2018 in Persian by Farzan-e Ruz in Tehran.

Dr Akbar has presented papers at international conferences in Malaysia, Canada and France. In 2018 his paper ‘The Classical Islamic Laws of Apostasy in the Present Context’ was awarded best paper at the International Conference on Comparative Theology and Comparative Religion in Paris.

Professional staff

Trish Prentice

Research Coordinator

Phone: +61 3 8344 3758

Location: Room 305, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre (Building 158), Parkville

Trish Prentice has a Bachelor Education (Secondary) and a Master of Law (LLM), with a focus on international human rights law and Islamic law. Trish has worked in various fields in Australia and overseas, including teaching, law and research, in Switzerland, Singapore and Indonesia. After completing her postgraduate studies, she spent several years working in Cairo, Egypt, for an NGO focusing on inter-cultural dialogue and for a news service covering the war in Iraq. Trish has been working as a research assistant with Prof. Abdullah Saeed since 2008 and is currently the NCCIS’s Research Coordinator.