Our story



The Muslim Legal Fund (MLFA) is a community-centric, grassroots non-profit organization fighting for national security reform, upholding and establishing justice in our courtrooms and communities for Muslims in America.

MLFA is a non profit full service defense fund dedicated to defending Muslims’ civil rights and liberties at the federal level.

MLFA is addressing unwarranted actions towards Muslims, such as travel restrictions, immigration denials, bank account closures, extra scrutiny of nonprofit work, prisoners denied religious accommodations, unjust prosecutions and unfair trials, excessive sentences and cruel conditions for Muslim prisoners, informants targeting vulnerable youth, and Muslims being intimidated into betraying their faith.


Our Mission & Vision

To advance equality and justice for American Muslim organizations and individuals by promoting legal compliance and protecting their rights in matters concerning national security law.

An America in which constitutional rights and liberties are upheld equally for all, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or cultural heritage.


Our Core Principles

  • Justice
  • Courage
  • Excellence
  • Accountability
  • Community


Our Strategic Priorities

Strengthen & Protect the Muslim Nonprofit Community

MLFA is recognized by the American Muslim nonprofit community as the leading resource for legal counsel and technical legal support in the areas of compliance, mitigation of risk from government scrutiny, and mission impact.

MLFA is a curator and aggregator of thought leadership on issues related to the legal risk posed to American Muslim organizations and individuals by the government’s national security programs and best practices for risk mitigation. As a result, understanding has increased among American Muslims and the legal community regarding their level of vulnerability, in order to create stronger organizations and effective representation.

Prevent the Unwarranted Indictment of American Muslim Individuals and Organizations

MLFA has contributed to an overall decrease in the number of American Muslim organizations and individuals adversely impacted by FBI, Homeland Security and/or Treasury investigations and related enforcement actions. MLFA is considered a top of mind resource and first responder of choice among American Muslim organizations and leadership when they are at risk of federal investigation as a result of current national security policies.

Increase Reach & Effect of Impact Litigation

MLFA is recognized as a leader in national security-related legal defense for American Muslim nonprofits and their leadership with national reach and visibility. MLFA has built a demonstrated record of challenging the lack of due process and unfair administration of extreme vetting and guilt by association policies and regulations resulting in government encroachment on the civil liberties of American Muslims.


When we consistently stand up for those who are unfairly targeted, we open up opportunities over time to change the underlying laws and policies that threaten and weaken the Muslim community. Our attorneys work as a team on civil, criminal, and immigration cases. Working together, they have the opportunity to think about issues from a bird’s eye view, and to put the puzzle pieces together in a meaningful way. Each case is a piece of the puzzle, and no effort is wasted. Read More

One of our strategic priorities is impact litigation, which involves a more holistic approach to changing laws and policies. Impact litigation is legal work that focuses on the big picture. Our work at MLFA is not only about defending one individual or one family. In defending that one family, we gather valuable information and apply new strategies. As an organization, we impact the future of all Muslim families in this country by working to change the laws and policies that negatively impact them. This way, we’re addressing the root of the problem rather than just the branches. We’re building a solid foundation.Read Less


Clients Served


Years of Combined Legal Experience


Years in Business


The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) was founded in 2001 by a coalition of civil rights activists seeking to redress systemic discrimination against American Muslims. The tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11 caused a surge in discrimination, hate crimes, and unlawful profiling by both the public and private sectors. Immediately following the terrorist attacks, law enforcement questioned Muslims en mass about their constitutionally protected rights of free speech, association, and religion. Islamophobia dominated politics and the media, affecting Muslims from the classroom to the courtroom.  Read More

A “Muslim” registry was formed (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System – NSEERS), targeting Arabs and South Asians for deportation. Fast forward 20 years and a record number of American Muslims are still facing denaturalization programs, the Muslim ban, and terror watchlists that disproportionately affect minorities in our country.

Equally troubling were the targeted campaigns against the American Muslim community that labeled over 300 American Muslim individuals and organizations as “un-indicted co-conspirators” in the shocking and unjust 2006 criminal trial of the Holy Land Foundation. Such an unprecedented and overreaching action harmed the reputations of individuals and organizations, who were left with no legal recourse to defend themselves.

In 2014, MLFA established the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA) to provide pro bono legal representation in federal courts and administrative proceedings for qualified individuals and organizations where the representation is in the interest of the Muslim community.

In 2021, MLFA launched THE ISHAN STANDARD in partnership with and implemented by the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative (MPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The Ihsan Standard images the American Muslim nonprofit community and its leadership clinically through legal screenings, fieldwork, and leadership training.

In 2022, The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) and the Constitutional Legal Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA) announced their merger, positioning the newly combined organizations to better defend, protect, educate and serve American Muslims and Muslim organizations against discrimination, unfair targeting and all the legal and social issues that fall under the guise of national security.  Read Less

Getting on the map of National Security


National Security Act passed, establishing the CIA and the National Security Council

July 4, 1966

Freedom of Information Act signed, allowing people to request information regarding government investigations and records

January 1, 1967

The National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”) established as a nationwide database of criminal histories and “other information”

March 1976

First set of guidelines issued governing FBI domestic investigations


Joint Terrorism Task Force Established in NYC with 10 FBI agents and 10 NYPD detectives


World Trade Center bomb explodes in New York City


Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing

December 28, 1977

International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) enacted


Holy Land Foundation and other charities targeted by Dept. of Treasury for support of terrorism

February 5, 2002

John Walker Lindh arrested for terrorism


David Boim’s parents filed lawsuit against HLF, IAP/AMS, M. Salah and others


World Trade Center attack by hijacked commercial aircraft occurs


Anti-terrorism Advisory Council formed


PATRIOT Act Passed

Dec 2001

Establishment of MLFA


Creation of National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS)


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established


Sami Al-Arian arrested

March 1, 2003

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed captured in Pakistan

May 1, 2003

Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) created under the CIA and

September 12, 2003

FBI offices creates its own Field Intelligence Group, consisting of linguists, analysts, agents and surveillance specialists

September 16, 2003

President Bush establishes the Terrorist Screening Center by Presidential directive.

July 22, 2004

9/11 Commission issues its report, recommending ways to increase the FBI’s intelligence capabilities


IAP/AMS close


U.S. resettles approximate 35,000 Somali refugees


National Counterterrorism Center merges with TTIC

September 12, 2005

FBI creates the National Security Branch (NSB) combining counterterrorism efforts within the FBI


REAL ID Act passed

October 11, 2005

Adam Gadahn becomes first United States citizen indicted on treason (and material support) since World War II


Department of Homeland Security establishes Traveler Redress program (DHS TRIP


U.S. agrees to plan with United Nations Refugee resettlement to resettle several thousand Iraqi refugees


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service implements the “Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program” or CARRP

September 24, 2009

Najibullah Zazi arrested for plotting to attack the New York subway system

December 2009

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the underwear bomber) arrested for bringing an explosive on board a flight


United States v. IARA USA: This was the last time a Muslim American charity was charged, also first time U.S. released frozen funds ($1.5 million)


NSEER suspended for lack of efficiency (fully terminated in 2016)

February 16, 2012

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the underwear bomber) sentenced to life in prison for attempting to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009


U.S. first gives Temporary Protected Status to Syrian nationals

March 2012

The TSA implemented its Quiet Skies and Silent Partner programs


Attorney General Holder granted the National Counterterrorism Center the authority to collect, store, and analyze data on U.S. citizens and non-citizens collected by entities both domestic and foreign.

April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon bombing occurs

September 2014

Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America established


U.S. first gives Temporary Protected Status to Yemeni nationals residing in the U.S. based on humanitarian need for those unable to return home


Anti-Terrorism Act passed by Congress allowing civil suits against those who support terrorism


Jafarzadeh v. Nielson: CLCMA lawyers exposed unfair CARRP immigration practices and achieved legal permanent residence for Mr. Jafarzadeh.


Muslim Travel Bans – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria among others

2017- 2021

AMP (American Muslims for Palestine) - our attorneys at CLCMA successfully defended AMP and got the case dismissed twice.


Akili Ujima v. Bureau of Prisons: CLCMA lawyers argued for religious accommodations at trial and won him monetary damages, hours of paid time off restored, and discipline removed from his file.


Executive Order Suspending the U.S. Refugee Program


Coalition of legal organizations, including the ACLU and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, sue USCIS challenging the illegal and unconstitutional nature of CARRP. (lawsuit ongoing)


United States v. Noor Salman: From 184 terrorism cases gone to a jury since 9/11, this is 1 of only 3 acquittals - “not guilty on all charges”.

Sep 2019

Imam Sait Zekiri: USCIS granted citizenship in September 2019 after 17+ years of trying.


Regina Smith v. Virginia State Department of Corrections: Change in VA state prison policy that allows inmates to wear religious head coverings, including hijab.


Hemza Lefsih: faced fraud charges for not listing traffic tickets on citizenship application - CLCMA got those charges removed


CLCMA client is now OFF the No Fly list


CLCMA client is now OFF the No Fly list


Jibril Family: This case set a precedent for objecting to what happens to you at the airport.


United States v. Giampietro: Material support and obstruction charges dropped against Ms. Giampietro.


Presidential Proclamation blocking all Diversity Visa (DV) applicants from entering the U.S.


President Joe Biden revokes Muslim Travel Ban in its entirety but leaves COVID-19 travel bans essentially intact


President Joe Biden revokes Muslim Travel Ban in its entirety but leaves COVID-19 travel bans essentially intact


123,000 civilians evacuated from Afghanistan as U.S. withdraws its military presence and the Taliban assumes control of the government


“Muslim Legal Fund of America is trying to put us ahead of the curve by anticipating what legal challenges we will face next”

Omar Suleiman | Founder of Yaqeen Institute

“The question is not: Should you support the Muslim Legal Fund of America? The question is: Do you have the courage to?”

Linda Sarsour | Co-Founder and Executive Director at MPower Change, American Political Activist

“I have seen first hand what MLFA is doing, and it is impressive. ONE case will have an impact across the country. ONE case will secure the rights for six million Muslims!”

- Yasir Qadhi | Dean of Academic Affairs at Al-Maghrib Institute

“MLFA is certainly one of the few organizations that serve as a beacon of hope for the institutionalization of justice for Muslims who feel suffocated by the pressure of dealing with anti-Muslim bias in American courtrooms.”

– Mahmoud Abdul Rauf | NBA Superstar
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

“To make me an informant would actually imply that I’m surrounding myself with people that are doing things that need to be informed about, which is actually quite offensive. I’m an American Muslim, and I have the same values as all other Americans.”

– Lassana Magassa | CLCMA client since 2017.

“Supporting the work of MLFA is an investment in one of the most central values of Islam: justice. An investment in justice means an investment in religious freedom, accountable government, and a pluralistic America.”

– Dalia Mogahed | Director, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

“I cannot put into words how much gratitude and appreciation I have for CLCMA and MLFA for their selfless work in fighting discrimination against the Muslim community. I pray all of us stay united in helping them take their goals to the next level.”

– Ahmad S. | Client since 2020, granted citizenship.

“I pray that this service spreads far and wide so more people are aware of it and they know where to turn to in case they become a victim in these trying times”

– MLFA beneficiary, successfully removed from the No Fly list.