Imam Abdullah completed his basic training and education in his native Turkey. From 1996-2003 he worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia with the Association of Social and Economic Solidarity with Pacific Countries. He is the founder and executive board member of the Muslim Chaplains Association and a member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains. From 2003 to 2005 he served as the first Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University. He then moved to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he was the associate director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program & Interfaith Relations, as well as an adjunct faculty member. His responsibilities included syllabus and curriculum development, student recruitment, and leadership of interfaith projects. In the summer of 2009, Imam Abdullah completed his doctor of ministry project at Hartford Seminary, titled "Muslim Campus Ministry: Challenges and Opportunities."
As the Muslim chaplain at Duke University, he is one of only a handful of full-time Muslim chaplains at U.S. colleges and universities. His work at Duke focuses on three primary areas: religious leadership for Duke's Muslim community; pastoral care and counseling for persons of any faith, or of no ascribed faith; and intra- and interfaith work.
In addition to his pastoral duties, Imam Abdullah also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Divinity School and teaches introductory courses on Islam. A proverbial presence on campus, he engages students, faculty, and staff through seminars, panels, and other avenues to provide an Islamic voice to discussions of faith, spirituality, social justice and other topics.