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


Dr. Akel Ismail Kahera

Dr. Akel Ismail Kahera (PhD)

Professor of Islamic Architecture and Urbanism
Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism
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 CIS, HBKU. 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 held multiple teaching and senior positions, including professor and dean at Virgina Commonwealth University's School of the Arts in Qatar; professor and senior associate dean of research and graduate studies at Clemson University, South Carolina; and professor and director at Prairie View A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas Tech University. Dr. Kahera has published over three dozen peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and three books: Deconstructing the American Mosque (University of Texas Press, 2002/2008), Reading the Islamic City: Discursive Practices & Legal Judgment (Rowan & Littlefield/ Lexington Press, Maryland; 2012), and Design Criteria for Mosques (Architectural Press, Oxford, UK; 2009). 

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

University of Oxford

  • 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


  • Kahera, A. (2012). Reading the Islamic City: Discursive Practices & Legal Judgment.

    Maryland: Rowan & Littlefield/Lexington Press.

  • Kahera, A. (2002). Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender & Aesthetics.

    Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. (Reissued in paperback edition, 2008).

  • Kahera, A., Anz, C., & Abdulmalik, L. (2009). Design Criteria for Mosques & Islamic Centers: Art, Architecture & Worship.

    Oxford, UK: The Architectural Press.


  • Kahera, A. (2016). 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. (2015). Houston Mosques: Space, Place and Religious Meaning.

    In Brunn, S. (Ed.), The Changing World Map: Sacred Spaces, Identities, Practices and Politics. UK: Springer.

  • Kahera, A. (2014). The Education of African-American Architects: Re-thinking Du Bois’s Principles.

    In Bell, C.J. (Ed.), Space Unveiled: Invisible Cultures in the Design Studio. UK: Routledge. 37–50.

  • Kahera, A. (2013). Architecture.

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


  • Kahera, A. (2014). God’s Dominion: Omar Ibn Said Use of Arabic literacy as Opposition to Slavery.

    The South Carolina Review, 46(2). 126–34.

  • Kahera, A. (2016). 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. (2010). 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. (2009). If You Fly Too Close to the Sun: Postmodernism, Pantheism and the Promethean Myth.

    Journal of History & Culture, 1(2). 39–52.

  • Kahera, A. (2008). (Re) Thinking Diversity: Resisting Absolute Knowledge in the Design Studio.

    Journal of History & Culture, 1(1). 62–76.

  • Kahera, A. (2007). Two Muslim Communities: Two Disparate Ways of Islamizing Public Spaces.

    Space and Culture, 10(4). 384–396.

  • Kahera, A. (1999). 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. (1998). 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.


  • Kahera, A. (Forthcoming 2021). The Mosque of the Prophet at Medina.

    In Uddin-Khan, H., & Moore, K. (Eds.), The Religious Architecture of Islam, Vol 1. Brepols Publishers.

  • Kahera, A. (2014). Omar Ibn Said’s Rhetorical Discourse Against Slavery.

    In McCloud, A.B. (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of African American Islam. UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Kahera, A. (2014). American Mosque Architecture.

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

  • Kahera, A. (2009). The Islamic City.

    In Encyclopedia of Urbanism. UK: Sage Publications. 401–405.

  • Kahera, A. (2001). The Arts: Visual and Religious Art.

    In Ciment, J. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American Immigration. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. 768–776.