PLATINUM2023

MUSLIM LEGAL FUND OF AMERICA

Building Legal Power for Muslims In America

Richardson, TX   |  www.mlfa.org

Mission

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.

Ruling year info

2002

CEO

Mrs Arshia Ali-Khan

Main address

100 N Central Expressway, Suite 1010

Richardson, TX 75080 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

01-0548371

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Since 2001, Muslims have been targeted for special treatment by the American government. Most of these discriminatory cases involve national security issues. These types of cases can cost between $75,000 - $1,000,000 and this price tag may not even include the actual trial. Thus, we created a nation-wide defense fund to be able to offer specialized attorneys and experts for these cases. In addition, we offer educational seminars, conferences and legal clinics to help prevent some of these issues affecting the Muslim community. The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) is a 501C3 charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslim against injustice in America courtrooms, prisons, and communities. The MLFA concept: Turning charitable donations into legal services for select cases with potential civil liberties impact, sometimes known as impact litigation. MLFA is the only nonprofit legal fund dedicated to defending Muslims’ civil rights and liberties at the federal level in the US

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Case Funding

MLFA funds legal cases involving perceived civil liberties violations in defend of the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

Population(s) Served
Muslims

The Ihsan Standard is a capacity-building legal and research project—dedicated to leadership excellence among minority-led and Muslim American nonprofits. We provide pro bono, confidential screenings to assess the legal health of a nonprofit organization. During the screening, we provide legal advice on governance, risk, and compliance matters. We also provide an individualized scorecard that reflects the legal health of the nonprofit. Further, we offer a leadership level training that addresses any legal gaps or e
The Muslim American nonprofit subsector faces overlapping challenges with other minority-led nonprofits. Overall, it is under-resourced. Legal advice and healthy governance practices can be critical to the success of nonprofits. The Ihsan Standard intervenes with legal screenings in support of healthy nonprofit practices. The Ihsan Standard also conducts research to understand and address the resource challenges of minority-led and Muslim American nonprofit organizations.

Population(s) Served
Muslims
Ethnic and racial groups
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Zakat Foundation of America 2021

American Muslims for Palestine 2018

American Bar Foundation member 2023

Texas Bar College member 2023

American Bar Foundation member 2023

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Estimated number of funding dollars secured for the sector

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Ethnic and racial groups, Religious groups, Economically disadvantaged people, At-risk youth

Related Program

Case Funding

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

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.

Number of clients assisted with legal needs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Religious groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants and migrants, Incarcerated people

Related Program

Case Funding

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total number of active cases being litigated.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

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.

1) Strengthen & Protect the Muslim Nonprofit Community Actions: ● Continue funding the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA). Established in 2014 by MLFA, CLCMA has taken over 500 cases since inception. MLFA Merged with our law center in 2022.
● In partnership with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, fund the opening of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative (MPI) to support Muslim-American nonprofits to be compliant with legal, governance and nonprofit best practices. b) Action: ● Produce the Muslim Nonprofit Leadership Conference, in partnership with the Lilly School of Philanthropy.
2) 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.
Actions: ● CIVIL RIGHTS LITIGATION: Funding CLCMA to represent individual American Muslims as well as organizations whose civil liberties are under attack, in order to set precedents that will benefit the American Muslim community.
● CRIMINAL DEFENSE: Funding CLCMA to represent individuals and organizations who have been targeted based on guilt by association in order to protect their constitutional rights and set precedents to maintain “good law.”
3) 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.
Actions: ●IMMIGRATION CASE WORK: Take on cases to reduce Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP), unlawful extreme vetting programs, and discriminatory denials for American Muslims. ● CIVIL RIGHTS LITIGATION: Represent individual American Muslims as well as organizations whose civil liberties are under attack, in order to set precedents that will benefit the American Muslim community. ● CRIMINAL DEFENSE: Represent individuals and organizations who have been targeted based on guilt by association in order to protect their constitutional rights and set precedents to maintain “good law” ●DENATURALIZATION CASES: Expand capacity to take on denaturalization cases related to national security. This can include the precursor matters like administrative revocation of passports, or refusal/delay in issuing passports to U.S. citizens without explanation or a meaningful opportunity to be heard. ●PEER PARTNERS

Muslim Legal Fund of America is staffed with nonprofit professionals, including an CEO who has over 20 years in Non-Profit Development and holds two masters in Leadership and Philantropy. MLFAs Legal Division is headed by renowned attorney Charles Swift, retired officer in the US Naval JAG corps, Christina Jump who has more then 25 years of litigation experince and earned Super Lawyer multiple years and Katheryn Brady who has been practicing as Immication and National Security attorney since 2006. MLFA is also partnered with Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philantrophy incubating our Non-Profit Divsion. Collectivly MLFA's leadership has over 100 years of experince in National Security Law and Nonprofit Development and Leadership.

For over two decades we’ve been the leading entity defending Muslims at the federal level. The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) has become a national leader protecting Muslim Americans against constitutional injustices. Before us, no entity existed to solely stand firm as a symbol of courage against institutionalized Islamophobia and hate in the American federal legal system.
MLFA is setting legal precedents and ensuring American Muslims are getting the due process promised by our constitution. We ensure that our laws are applied as fairly and equally to Muslim Americans as they are to non-Muslims. Our deep expertise and service over fees model ensures that with each case we accept, we are serving our entire nation. 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. 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 CLCMA to provide pro bono legal representation in federal courts aand 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. The Ihsan Standard images the American Muslim nonprofit community and its leadership clinically through legal screenings, fieldwork, and leadership training.
In 2022, 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 organizatation against discrimination, unfair targeting and all the legal and social issues that fall under the guise of national security.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

MUSLIM LEGAL FUND OF AMERICA
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

MUSLIM LEGAL FUND OF AMERICA

Board of directors
as of 09/05/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Hatem Bazian

MLFA

Mouffa Nahhas

MLFA

Hatem Bazian

MLFA

Jamal Suleiman

MLFA

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/30/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/30/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.