Akel Ismail Kahera | Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


Akel Ismail Kahera

Akel Ismail Kahera (PhD)

College of Islamic Studies
Master of Science in Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism

  • Office locationC.01.030


Dr. Akel Kahera is a professor of Islamic Architecture and Urbanism at the College of Islamic Studies (CIS). His research, teaching, and scholarly publications include architecture, sustainable urbanism, and design. With over 20 years as a professional practitioner, he has performed a vital role as designer and project manager primarily in the international arena, which has led to the construction of several major projects with a commensurate construction value of $500 million. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where he attended Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and later completed graduate studies (M. Arch) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and obtained a PhD with honors from Princeton University. 

Dr. Kahera has published over three dozen peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and three books.


Research Interests

  • Sustainable Environments and Critical Regionalism
  • Revitalization and Historic Preservation
  • Typologies of Islamic Architecture
  • Hermeneutics and Ontology
  • Housing and Community Development


Professor of Architecture and Urbanism


2019 – Present
  • Dean and Professor

    Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar’s School of the Arts

    2015 – 2018
  • Associate Dean and Professor

    College of Architecture, Art and Humanities, Clemson University, South Carolina

    2012 – 2015
  • Associate Professor and Director

    School of Architecture, Prairie View/Texas A & M University

    2005 – 2012


Certificate: Heritage Preservation and Cultural Value

Oxford University

  • Certificate: Global Leadership

    Reed College, Portland, Oregon

  • Certificate: Race and Reconciliation

    Reed College, Portland, Oregon

  • PhD (with Distinction)

    Princeton University

  • Master of Architecture

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Bachelor of Architecture

    Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY


Selected Publications

  • Books

  • Kahera, A.

    Reading the Islamic City: Discursive Practices & Legal Judgment. Maryland: Rowan & Littlefield/Lexington Press.

  • Kahera, A.

    Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender & Aesthetics. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. (Reissued in paperback edition, 2008).

  • Kahera, A., Anz, C., & Abdulmalik, L.

    Design Criteria for Mosques & Islamic Centers: Art, Architecture & Worship. Oxford, UK: The Architectural Press.

  • Book Chapters

  • Kahera, A.

    Cairo’s Urban Parks: Space, Place and Meaning. In: Gharipour, M. (Ed.), Contemporary Urban Landscapes of the Middle East. UK: Routledge. 171–89.

  • Kahera, A., & BakamaNume, B.

    Houston Mosques: Space, Place and Religious Meaning. In: The Changing World Map: Sacred Spaces, Identities, Practices and Politics Ed. Stan Brunn (Springer UK, 2015).

  • Kahera, A.

    The Education of African-American Architects: Re-thinking Du Bois’s Principles. In: Bell, C.J., Space Unveiled: Invisible Cultures in the Design Studio. UK: Routledge. 37–50.

  • Kahera, A.

    Architecture. In: Hammer, J., & Safi, O. (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to American Islam. UK: Cambridge University Press. 228–245.

  • Journal Articles

  • Kahera, A.

    God’s Dominion: Omar Ibn Said Use of Arabic literacy as Opposition to Slavery. The South Carolina Review, 46(2). 126–34.

  • Kahera, A.

    A Fatwa on the Status of an Urban Mosque: The Rhetoric of a Legal Discourse. Encounters: An International Journal for the Study of Culture and Society, 6. 151–68.

  • Kahera, A.

    Art is Not Created Ex-Nihilo: Order, Space & Form in the Work of Sinan and Palladio. Journal of History & Culture, 1(3). 57–79.

  • Kahera, A.

    If You Fly Too Close to the Sun: Postmodernism, Pantheism and the Promethean Myth. Journal of History & Culture, 1(2). 39–52.

  • Kahera, A.

    (Re) Thinking Diversity: Resisting Absolute Knowledge in the Design Studio. Journal of History & Culture, 1(1). 62–76.

  • Kahera, A.

    Two Muslim Communities: Two Disparate Ways of Islamizing Public Spaces. Space and Culture, 10(4). 384–396.

  • Kahera, A.

    Reading the Semiotics of a Madinah: A Discourse on the Topography of Fas. Al-Shajarah: Journal of International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 4(1). 75–92.

  • Kahera, A., & Benmira, O.

    Damages in Islamic Law: Magribi Muftis and their Fatwas-9th to 15th century, CE. Journal of Islamic Law and Society, 5(2). E.J. Brill. 131–64.

  • Others

  • Kahera, A.

    (Forthcoming 2021). The Mosque of the Prophet at Medina. In: Uddin-Khan, H., & Moore, K., The Religious Architecture of Islam, Vol 1. Brepols Publishers.

  • Kahera, A.

    American Mosque Architecture. In: Smith, J., & Haddad, Y. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of American Islam. Oxford University Press NY (2014), 404–25.

  • Kahera, A.

    The Islamic City. Encyclopedia of Urbanism. UK: Sage Publications. 401–405.

  • Kahera, A.

    The Arts: Visual and Religious Art. In: Ciment, J. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American Immigration. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. 768–776.

  • Kahera, A.

    Omar Ibn Said’s Rhetorical Discourse Against Slavery. In: McCloud, A.B. (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of African American Islam. UK: Oxford University Press.