Muslim Legal Fund of America



Richardson, TX

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $3,203,962
Expenses: $2,714,231
Assets: $1,216,901


Legal Services Organization




Hatem Bazian

Budget (2022):

Revenue: 3,239,841
Expenses: 3,376,791
Assets: 1,478,552

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) was founded in 2001 by civil rights activists who claimed that there was a rise in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A major point of contention for MLFA was the 2002 creation of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), requiring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to record the arrival, stay, and departure of certain individuals from countries chosen based on an analysis of possible national security threats. 1

MLFA opposes travel restrictions and terror watchlists that it claims impact Muslims above others. In addition to providing legal education and research to the Muslim nonprofit community, MLFA has provided legal defense to several terrorist sympathizers, and has longstanding ties to the controversial U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO). 2 It is vocally opposed to Israeli policies regarding Palestinians, and encourages the U.S. government to curb aid to Israel. 3

Muslim Legal Fund of America defends Muslims people and organizations in federal court for criminal, civil, and legal matters on a pro bono basis. As of March 2024, MLFA was managing over 80 active civil cases, over 30 active immigration cases, and over 10 criminal cases. 4

Holy Land Foundation Cases

In 1996, 17-year-old American David Boim was shot and killed by Hamas terrorists in Jerusalem. His parents sued several pro-Palestine, American-based nonprofit organizations under the Anti-Terrorism Act, including the Islamic Association for Palestine, the Holy Land Foundation, the American Islamic Society, and the Quranic Literacy Institute. The Boims won a $156 million judgment against these groups in 2004. 5

Those entities went out of business shortly thereafter, and in 2017, the Boims sought to collect the civil judgment from the new organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). According to the Boims’ attorney, AMP has the same leadership, same mission, and same operations as IAP. In November 2023, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) opened an investigation into AMP’s alleged terrorist ties. 6

Since 2017, MLFA has defended AMP against the new lawsuit and succeeded in having the case dismissed twice. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned those dismissals. MLFA defended Muhammed Salah, who served time in Israeli and American prisons for bankrolling terrorism and lying about his ties to Hamas during the Boim lawsuit. Salah spent years on the U.S. “designated terrorist” list before being removed in 2012 and dying from complications from cancer in 2016. 7

In 2007, MLFA agreed to defend the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) against federal charges that the group provided “material support” to Hamas. In 2008, five former leaders of HLF were convicted of 108 counts of providing support to terrorism, having funneled $12.4 million to the leaders of Hamas. 8 MLFA calls the outcome of this trial “shocking and unjust,” and has decried the government’s naming of over 300 American Muslims and groups as “unindicted co-conspirators.” 9

Criminal Defense

MLFA funded the defense of University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian, who was convicted in 2006 of providing services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). 10 It also defended Aafia Siddiqui, who was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for the attempted murder of U.S. nationals in Afghanistan. 11

Harvard Complaint

In January 2024, MLFA filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Harvard University, alleging on behalf of several Muslim students that their ethnicity and pro-Palestine political opinions subjected them to harassment and assault on campus, and that Harvard did not act to protect those students. According to the filing, students were confronted, verbally assaulted, and had objects thrown on them for wearing the Keffiyeh, or traditional Palestinian printed scarf. 12

MLFA further alleges that some students were threatened with loss of educational opportunities when they reported this poor treatment to the Harvard administration. According to MLFA counsel, in response to student complaints, school administrators met with donors and alumni who encouraged them to allow the alleged harassment to continue. On the night of October 7, 2023, more than 30 Harvard student groups posted an open letter holding Israel entirely responsible for the massacre perpetrated by Hamas. According to the MLFA complaint, students in those groups were doxxed, their family members were threatened, and influential business executives reached out to the university asking for the names of those students to blackball them from employment at their firm. 13

Notable Supporters

An October 2018 fundraising video for MFLA featured left-wing U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and alleged Hamas sympathizer Dalia Mogahed. 14

Notable Muslim activists publicly support the work of MLFA, including Linda Sarsour, Palestinian-American activist and co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a former NBA player who was suspended from the league in 1996 after refusing to stand for the national anthem, also helps raise funds for the group. 15

A February 2024 “Defending the Defenders” banquet for MLFA was co-hosted by Cornel West, a socialist professor and left-of-center 2024 presidential candidate, and Nina Turner, left-wing activist and former Ohio state senator. 16 17


Muslim Legal Fund of America is part of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella organization including many prominent Muslim groups in the U.S., some of whom have alleged ties to terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. 18 19 20 USCMO was formed in 2014, and Khalil Meek, co-founder and then-director of MLFA, also helped lead the founding of USCMO and spoke at the organization’s inaugural event. 21

USCMO made a statement regarding Hamas’s massacre of Israelis on October 7, 2023, saying that it stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people against what it called an Israeli “occupation” and “inhumane siege.” The statement failed to condemn Hamas for its actions and targeted Israel. USCMO also called on the U.S. and international community to pressure Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories. 22

In September 2022, USCMO wrote a obituary for Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who decried 9/11 but was also influential in the Muslim Brotherhood, endorsed suicide bombings against Israelis, and endorsed domestic violence and violence against gays and lesbians. 23 24


Hatem Bazian is Chairman of Muslim Legal Fund of America’s Board of Directors. He is also Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, described by the left-leaning Jewish advocacy group Anti-Defamation League as “the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training in America.” AMP is also the subject of a civil lawsuit from the parents of American terrorism victim David Boim, who claim that AMP is simply the reconstituted version of the Islamic Association for Palestine. 25

Arshia Ali-Khan is MLFA’s Chief Executive Officer. She joined in 2018 as the Chief Development Officer (CDO) and was appointed interim CEO in 2020. Ali-Khan led a project with Indiana University called the Ihsan Standard, to help Muslim and minority-led nonprofits with legal compliance, leadership development, continuing legal education (CLE), and research. 26


In 2022, Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) earned $3,259,841 in revenue and spent $3,376,791, ending the year with $1,478,552 in net assets. That year, CEO Arshia Ali-Khan led a merger of MLFA and the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), and spent the majority of MLFA’s expenses that year ($2,539,026) on CLCMA, including $1,185,000 in grants. 27 28

During the fiscal year 2021 the MLFA reported $3,203,962 in revenue, $2,714,231 in expenses, and $1,216,901 in total assets. 29

Emergent Fund, a left of center grantmaking organization that supports race and gender focused activist groups, named MLFA a distinguished grantee. 30


  1. “DHS Removes Designated Countries from NSEERS Registration.” Department of Homeland Security. May 2011. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  2. “Founding.” U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  3. “March on Washington for Gaza Supporters Send Letter with Demands to President Biden.” Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). January 12, 2024. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  4. “Our Cases.” Muslim Legal Fund of America. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  5. “Boim vs. Quranic Literacy Institute.” 00 C 2905 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 10, 2001)
  6. Chuck Goudie, Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel, and Tom Jones. “Family’s fight against Hamas targets local pro-Palestinian nonprofit.” ABC7 Chicago. November 1, 2023. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  7. “Muhammad Salah, acquitted of supporting Hamas, dead at 62.” San Diego Union-Tribune. April 25, 2016. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  8. “No Cash for Terror: Convictions Returned in Holy Land Case.” Federal Bureau of Investigation. November 25, 2008. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  9. “Our Story.” Muslim Legal Fund of America. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  10. “Sami Al-Arian Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To ProvideServices To Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” Department of Justice. April 17, 2006. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  11. “Aafia Siddiqui Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 86 Years for Attempting to Murder U.S. Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Crimes.” Federal Bureau of Investigation. September 23, 2010. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  12. Max Larkin. “Harvard faces more claims of discrimination – this time from Palestinian and Muslim students.” WBUR. January 29, 2024. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  13. Vimal Patel. “Education Department Investigates Claims of Discrimination Against Palestinian Students at Harvard.” New York Times. February 7, 2024. Accessed March 28, 20204.
  14. Mitch Kokai. “MIT Anti-Hate Initiative Features Hamas Sympathizer.” John Locke Foundation. February 6, 2024. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  15. Jason Jones. “Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s controversial life, NBA career detailed in new documentary.” The Athletic. February 9, 2023. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  16. “Nina Turner.” Ohio Statehouse. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  17. Katharine Q. Seelye. “Cornel West Will Return to Teach at Harvard.” New York Times. November 18, 2016. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  18. “Founding.” U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  19. Laurie Cohen, Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe. “A rare look at secretive brotherhood in America.” Chicago Tribune. September 19, 2004. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  20. Melissa Koenig. “Virginia AG to probe pro-Palestinian group with alleged ties to Hamas.” New York Post. November 1, 2023. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  21. “Star Spangled Shariah: The Rise of America’s First Muslim Brotherhood Party.” Center for Security Policy. September 1, 2015. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  22. USCMO Stands in Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Calls for Immediate End to Atrocities in Occupied Territories.” U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. October 7, 2023. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  23. “Muslim Brotherhood’s Qaradawi, who endorsed suicide bombings against Israelis, dies.” The Times of Israel. September 26, 2022. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  24. “USCMO Condoles the Global Muslim Community on the Passing of Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to the Mercy of Allah.” U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. September 26, 2022. Accessed march 28, 2024.
  25. “American Muslims for Palestine.” Anti-Defamation League. September 17, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  26. “Ihsan Standard.” Indiana University Indianapolis. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  27. “Arshia Ali-Khan.” Muslim Legal Fund of America. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  28. “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.” Muslim Legal Fund of America. 2022. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  29. “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.” Muslim Legal Fund of America. 2022. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  30. “Emergent Fund Awards Muslim Legal Fund of America.” Muslim Legal Fund of America. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $3,203,962 $2,714,231 $1,216,901 $150,000 N $3,192,307 $0 $303 $0
    2020 Dec Form 990 $3,579,930 $3,026,569 $876,078 $294,274 N $3,580,124 $0 $13 $0
    2019 Dec Form 990 $3,957,791 $3,537,312 $130,611 $96,830 N $3,957,791 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $4,629,234 $4,730,884 $135,800 $646,903 N $4,629,234 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $3,576,412 $4,736,001 $71,496 $593,417 N $3,576,412 $0 $0 $0
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,328,905 $3,036,637 $765,566 $127,898 N $3,328,905 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,200,264 $2,069,585 $388,253 $42,853 N $2,200,264 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,960,913 $1,961,649 $544,133 $329,412 N $1,960,913 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,665,312 $2,404,397 $279,380 $63,923 N $2,665,312 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $2,187,423 $2,435,876 $161,331 $165,541 N $2,187,423 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,027,736 $1,791,974 $280,385 $77,390 N $2,027,736 $0 $0 $310,543 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Muslim Legal Fund of America

    100 N. Central Expy, Suite 1010
    Richardson, TX 75080