Islamic Studies, Arabic, and Qur’an Department Biographies

EDOPHOTOSr. Samia Ali earned her Quran Recitation Ijaza certificate from Abdullah bin Aamer Institution in Jordan in 2009. While there, she had the privilege of being taught by several certified scholars and reciters. Samia successfully completed the required Tajweed Rules Examination and recited the Quran in its entirety to her teacher, Intisar Albalbisy, all according to Hafs on the authority of Imam ‘Aasim. Samia’s Ijazah through Intisar Albalbisy is chained all the way back to our prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Since working at APA, she has taught and guided dozens of students to the completion and memorization of more than 15 Juza with Tajweed rules. Additionally, Samia has taught Quran recitation and Hifz in one-on-one sessions privately for six years. As such, she has awarded and certified one of her students with Quran Recitation Ijaza according to Hafs. Samia has also served different roles in managing several Quran competitions in the Austin area. Ms Samia joined APA in 2010.


Sr. Guyna Elabiad joined APA in 2006. She previously taught at Al-Manar Islamic School, Lebanon. She is fluent in Arabic and French. She has attended numerous workshops engaging students for the love of Arabic language and her classroom was considered by the UT LOTE department as example for the UT  Arabic interns. She teaches lower Elementary Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 2017, Ms Guyna received the Best Qur’an/Arabic teacher by the Islamic Noor Kids Foundation, a national recognition for Islamic Schools across the USA.

Kamara_LorettaSr. Loretta Kamara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Paine College in Augusta, GA., where she graduated with honors. While there, she received acknowledgement from the Lower Savannah River Authority for ‘Excellence in Math’ as well as recognition in ‘Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities’. Her other work experiences include administrative assistant in the financial sector, writing essay scorer, and teacher at an Islamic summer program. She has completed many educational workshops and  taught 3rd grade for twelve years. She was recognized as the ‘APA Teacher of the Year’ in 2005-06. She is very passionate about Islamic studies and is a great role model for loving Islam. She joined APA in 2002 and has filled the classrooms and halls with her smile and sweet patience since.

Khadr_NehalDr. Nehal Khadr was born in Boulder, Colorado in a family of seven. She has lived in Texas for nearly 30 years and has been teaching Qur’an, Arabic, and Islamic Studies since 1998 at Austin Peace Academy. She completed medical school in 1989 with a focus on Internal Medicine from Alexandria University in Eqypt. She worked as a physician at Gamal Abdel-Nasser hospital in Alexandria for two years. In addition, Ms Khadr holds a diploma in teaching Islamic Studies from Toronto University in Canada and Bayyinah certificate from the Bayyinah center in Dallas, Texas by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. In addition to this, she holds a Flagship Arabic certificate based on teaching reading, writing and speaking the Arabic Language and an Arabic certificate from the University of Texas at Austin by Mahmoud Al Batal. In 2015, she obtained her Austin Texas Nursing certificate.

Sister Feryal Makkouk completed her Bachelor’s degree in Education, with a focus on early childhood, and Psychology from Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. She has worked with students in different capacities over the last ten years. Her education and experience will make her an asset to the APA Islamic Studies and Arabic department where she will serve as a teacher in both Upper Elementary and Middle School. Ms Makkouk contributed last year with her time as a volunteer substitute and is excited to come onboard full-time. She joined APA in 2018.

Omar_AttiaSheikh Attia Omara (ISAQ Faculty since 2012) earned his B.A in Islamic Studies at the prestigious Al-Azhar Shareef University in Cairo. Fluent in Arabic and English, he maintains a highly-regarded CELTA certificate in English language instruction. He leads several halaqas, is an experienced khateeb, as well as a seasoned curriculum specialist in the Islamic sciences. Sheikh Attia taught English at ASA Academy in Cairo and the University of Hail. He served as an Arabic language tutor and translator in Saudi Arabia. At Hail University he also served on the Academic Advising Committee. A natural youth leader APA is privileged to have Sh. Attia teach our Middle and Upper School students Islamic Studies and help lead our youth and develop the Austin community. Sh. Attia joined APA in 2012.

Qerqez_Huda_188 (2)Sr. Huda Qerqez joined APA in 2007. Prior to, she worked at an Islamic School in Knoxville, Tennessee and was also a teaching instructor in Gaza, Palestine. She attended the College of Saarland in Germany. Upon joining APA Huda has completed many workshops and attained a Bayyinah teaching certificate, a program developed by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. In addition she also has a Flagship Arabic certificate that qualifies her for teaching the Arabic language. She also took workshops in the liberal arts department at UT Austin under the instruction of Professor Mahmoud Al Batal. She is very passionate about teaching Arabic especially for the guidance of understanding the Quran.

Shaykh Tahir Patel was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His journey to pursue sacred Islamic knowledge began at age 13 when he traveled to the UK. By the age of 16, he completed the memorization of the Holy Qur’an at the renown seminary Darul Uloom, Bury. To further advance his studies in the Islamic Sciences, he continued at the seminary and pursued formal Islamic authorizations (ijazah). For 7 years, Sh. Tahir studied a rigorous curriculum covering the Arabic language and literature, Islamic jurisprudence, Commentary of the Holy Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic Philosophy, and Aqeedah (creed). He also earned his qualification in Information and Communication Technology from the UK. Shaykh Tahir has been teaching Islamic Studies, Arabic and Qur’an Memorization/Recitation at an Islamic School for the past 7 years. His greatest accomplishment is passing on the gift of Qur’an memorization to two of his students. His interests include biology, history, and technology.

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