Derya Iner

Teaching and Research Staff

Associate Professor Derya Iner

BA Lit, MA, PhD

Research Coordinator / Lecturer in Sociology and Contemporary Studies

Derya Iner is an Associate Professor and research coordinator at the Centre for Islamic Studies (CISAC), where she teaches and conducts research on contemporary issues related to Islam, Islamic cultures, and Muslims. She received her PhD in Cultural Studies (major) and Gender and Women's Studies (minor) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) in 2011 and started teaching at UW in 2014.

Derya is known for her work as the chief investigator and editor of the Islamophobia in Australia Reports I, II, III, and IV (2017, 2019, 2022, and 2023), which have gained nationwide and worldwide attention. The second report alone reached a potential audience of 730 million internationally, while the third report reached over 200 million within the first week of its launch.

In addition to her role at CISAC, Derya is also the deputy chair and research head of the Islamophobia Register Australia and co-founder of the International Islamophobia and Children Network. She has provided expert advice to various organizations, including the Diversity Council Australia, Australian Human Rights Commission, Online Hate Institute, All Together Now, Multicultural NSW, and the Australian Hate Crime Network (AHCN). Furthermore, Derya sits on the advisory committee of Meta, a Facebook group. Derya has also been featured as a public commentator in national and international media outlets, such as ABC radio channels, SBH, SMH, Guardian, 7.30 news, and New Zealand TV.

Overall, Derya is an accomplished scholar and leader in her field, whose work has made significant contributions to the understanding of Islamophobia and related issues in Australia and beyond.

Derya's academic interests can be listed as

  • Islam and Muslims in the West and Australia: Islamophobia, Women and children’s experience of Islamophobia, Far-right populism and extremism, Online hate and Islamophobia, Mosque attacks.
  • Women in Islam, Islamic cultures, and societies.
  • Muslim youth identity, religious identity formation.
  • Anthropology of Islam and the use of Islamic ethics in Social Sciences
  • Women’s intellectual and political activism in the Ottoman society and newly founded Muslim states of the early 20th century.

Derya actively contributed multiple professional associations and community organisations

  • Research Chair of Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, Faculty of Arts, CSU (2014-Present)
  • Founder and President of the Islamic Community Academics Network (ICAN) (2017-Present)
  • Deputy Chair and Research Head, Chief Investigator at the Islamophobia Register Australia (2016-Present)
  • Editorial Academic Board (EAB) at the Centre for Religion, Society and Ethics at CSU.
  • Founding member of the Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (AAIMS) (2019-2020)
  • Founding member of Children and Islamophobia International Network (2020)
  • Member of Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre (PaCT), (2015-Present)
  • Research Team Leader at the Islamic Science and Research Academy (2014-2020)
  • Volunteer and Muslim Youth Leadership mentor at the Islamic Science and Research Academy (2020-Present)

Derya, who holds a PhD in Cultural Studies with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies, specializes in teaching and researching sociological and contemporary topics related to Muslims and Islam. Her expertise includes Muslims' portrayal and history in the West, women in Islam, and the contemporary debates on Islam. Derya also coordinates guided research seminars and teaches sociological research methods. Derya is currently working on developing a new subject called Sociology and Anthropology of Islam.

Subjects (Developed and Thought)

  • ISL151 & ISL451- Islam in the Modern World
  • ISL355 & ISL455- Women in Islam, Islamic Civilisations and Cultures
  • ISL456- Islam through Western Eyes
  • ISL599- Guided Research Seminars

Derya supervises ISL599 Guided Research, Honours, MA by research and PhD students. Derya is currently supervising the following students:

  • Janelle Di Falco (PhD): Developing an Islamic emotional intelligence framework to save failing marriages of Australian Muslims
  • Nasreen Hanifi (PhD): The role of Islamic compassion in coping with trauma
  • Emre Celik (PhD): The American opinion-makers’ perception of the Hizmet (Service) movement since 9/11 onwards
  • Mirela Cufurovic (PhD): Social Emotion, Identity Integration, and the Making of a Distinct Australian Muslim Identity
  • Khansa Kadi (Honours): Parental perceptions and attitudes of Australian Muslims towards childcares and long day cares
  • Samia Amin (ISL599): The role of religion in shaping the future directions of emerging Muslim adults
  • Yasmeen Afzal (ISL599): The experiences of solitude among the Fijian Muslim community during the Covid-19 era

Derya is particularly interested in the operation and impact of Islamophobia on vulnerable victims, especially hijabi and niqabi and children. Derya’s flourishing Islamophobia research can be grouped as Online and offline (physical) Islamophobia, institutional and inter-personal Islamophobia, children and mothers’ experiences with Islamophobia, far-right populism and extremism, Mosque attacks in the West and Australia, the emotional impact of Islamophobia and its mental health implications.

Research Projects

Islamophobia in Australia Reports I-II-III-IV

The Islamophobia in Australia reports have had a significant impact since they are frequently cited by leading politicians, media outlets, and researchers. The data derived from incident reports submitted by both the Muslim community and wider Australian society are diligently analyzed using world-leading methodology and in collaboration with field-expert researchers. According to media metrics from CSU, the report findings were exposed to an audience of approximately 720 million worldwide within the first week of release. These reports have also inspired the creation of a register to collect data and release reports by the Indigenous community and publication of an anti-racism report by the Australian Asian community in Australia.

The report was mentioned above 400 times on social media, above 300 time on print media, above 90 time in overseas media.

  • Online (405 results):, ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald, SBS, Daily Telegraph,
  • Some of the more notable international outlets that covered the story and their estimated potential readership/viewers included.

Resilient Democracy for Resilient Communities

Our communities and democracy are being impaired by populism, disinformation, conspiracy theories and distrust, especially in times of crisis. A stronger democracy means more resilient communities to minimise such challenges. The Resilient Democracy for Resilient Communities participatory conference brought together community representatives and key stakeholders to explore how to build a democratically resilient society from the ground up. They looked at how to prevent the symptoms of a fragile democracy, such as broken trust in governments and across multiple communities, public disengagement in opinion making and advocacy, and the takeover of public opinion by divisive ideologies and fringe groups, which may lead to social chaos and panic in times of crisis. The conference was designed to be solution-oriented and, because social problems are interconnected and the participants were highly diverse, it focused on two questions throughout the day: How can WE strengthen democracy in an era of it being undermined or threatened? How can WE safeguard community resilience and capacity building through democracy?

Mosque Attacks in Australia

In 2021, we conducted a pilot study to investigate the prevalence of attacks against mosques in Australia. Our study, titled "Mosque Attacks," was conducted among 75 mosques across the country, and the results are alarming. The study found that mosque attacks are neither new nor rare in Australia, with 58.2% of mosques reporting targeted violence between 2014 and 2019. This problem has escalated in recent years, especially since the rise of ideological extremism.

These findings raise important questions about the extent to which mosques and other visible Muslim institutions, such as Islamic schools, community organizations, and Halal certifiers, are also targeted by anti-Muslim hate crime in Australia. Unfortunately, very little is known about the prevalence of physical and online attacks against mosques and Muslim institutions, and how such hate crimes affect individual members of the Muslim community.

Our project aims to fill this critical gap in knowledge by examining how hate crime against mosques and Muslim institutions in Australia translates into everyday experiences of vulnerability and alienation for individual Muslims, and how Muslim communities build resilience against such attacks. By shedding light on this important issue, we hope to contribute to the development of effective strategies for preventing and addressing hate crime against the Muslim community in Australia.

Children of Islamophobia Project

The project aims to explore the perceived impact of Islamophobia on children (under 18 years old) by investigating Muslim children who were exposed to Islamophobia directly (by being a target) or indirectly (by witnessing their mothers/parents' victimisation).

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