Other Group

Justice for Muslims Collective (JMC)


Muslim Activist Group




Dr. Maha Hilal

Darakshan Raja

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Justice for Muslims Collective (JMC) was created in October 2016 to oppose alleged bias in national security policy against Muslims. 1 It is fiscally sponsored by Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD), a left-of-center civil liberties activist organization that fights against government surveillance and for the right to protest. 2


In 2017, Justice for Muslims Collective submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the Trump v. Hawaii case arguing that the Trump administration’s ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries violated the First Amendment. 3

In 2018, JMC joined dozens of other organizations opposing the prosecution of Noor Salman. Salman had been the wife of Omar Mateen, who committed a spree shooting at an Orlando nightclub with a declared terroristic motive. The government accused her of helping Mateen plan his attack, but Salman was tried and acquitted in 2018 on charges of obstruction of justice and aiding terror. 4

In 2018, JMC partnered with George Washington University Law School to host the law school’s annual NATSECDEF conference entitled “Preserving Justice in National Security.” Founder and co-director of JMC  Maha Hilal spoke on a panel called “The Scapegoating of Minorities as National Security Policy.” 5 That same month, JMC helped present a one-day wellness summit with the D.C. government offering self-defense classes and information about Muslims’ civil rights. 6

In September 2018, JMC joined hundreds of other organizations in opposing the Trump administration’s public charge policy, which made it easier for the government to deny a visa or other entry if officials determine that an individual is likely to become reliant on public assistance. 7 The Trump administration put the policy into effect, but the Biden administration reversed the policy in 2022. 8

In 2020, JMC formed Muslim Abolitionist Futures, an organization of grassroots activists urging an end to the Global War on Terror on grounds that it discriminates against Blacks, Muslims, South Asians, and other minority groups throughout the world. 9

In 2021, JMC joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), legal advocacy group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and others in writing a memo to the Biden administration encouraging it to abolish national security measures adopted in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 10 That same year, JMC condemned the January 6, 2021 protests and violence at the Capitol, and encouraged the government not to expand domestic terrorism laws in response, fearing that those laws would end up targeting Muslims. 11

In May 2022, Darakshan Raja of JMC contributed to “Moving Towards Antibigotry,” a report by the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research run by activist professor Ibram X. Kendi. In her report, Raja claimed that anti-Muslim discrimination was compounded by gender discrimination. 12

In 2023, JMC helped Johns Hopkins University create a course in the Islamic Studies department, “Never Forget: Muslims, Islamophobia, and Dissent After 9/11.” 13


Maha Hilal is the co-founder of Just for Muslims Collective. She is also co-founder of the Muslim Counterpublics Lab, another left-of-center organization focused on racial politics and critical race theory. 14 She has experience at several other left-leaning policy organizations including Institute for Policy Studies, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms Foundation, and the Government Accountability Project. She also been a fellow at the National Academy of Sciences. 15

Hilal claimed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has spent two decades terrorizing Muslims and minority groups in the United States and subjecting them to violent abuse. Hilal has also said that DHS institutionalizes nativism, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and Islamophobia and that the agency has a commitment to targeting “non-white populations” based on the belief that they constitute the sole threat to the United States. 16 In 2023, Hilal spoke at a rally calling for the closure of the detention facility for suspected terrorists located at the U.S. Navy installation in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 17

Darakshan Raja is the founding co-director of JMC. She is also the founding executive director of Muslims for Just Futures, a Muslim organizing group. 18 She specializes in community organizing, policy, and advocacy. 19


Just for Muslims Collective is fiscally sponsored by Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD). 20 DRAD received $80,000 from the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation for JMC Operations in 2022. 21 The organization also draws support from several left-leaning activist groups serving the Muslim population, including  2022 award from the Pillars Fund “Catalyze” Fund, which awarded $2 million to 32 Muslim civic organizations in 2022;  22 a 2021 award of $20,000 from if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility, a group working on racial issues on behalf of Black people; 23 a 2020 award to fund JMC operations, from the Proteus Fund, a center-left “pass through” funder; 24 2021 and 2020 awards from the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, a left of center activism and grantmaking organization; 25 support from the Muslim Voter Fund, a program of the Movement Voter Project, a clearinghouse for Democratic donors to donate to Democratic causes in key states and districts; 26 and a 2018 grant from the Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund, which awarded $200,000 to seven organizations that year to fight Trump administration policies the foundation claimed were discriminatory against Muslims and other minority communities. 27


  1. “Defending Rights and Dissent on Twitter…” May 28, 2019. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.facebook.com/donate/325757784784780/
  2. “Home Page.” Defending Rights and Dissent. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.rightsanddissent.org/
  3. “Brief of Amici Curiae Muslim Justice League, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice, MPower Change, Justice for Muslims Collective, and Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans Supporting Respondents and Affirmance.” Donald J. Trump, President of the United States et al. v. State of Hawaii et al. Supreme Court of the United States. https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-965/41656/20180329190027030_2018%20TRUMP%20v.%20HAWAII%20–%20SCOTUS%20Amicus%20Brief.pdf
  4. Pete Williams. “Noor Salman, widow of Pulse nightclub gunman, found not guilty on all counts”. NBC News. March 38, 2018. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/noor-salman-widow-pulse-nightclub-gunman-found-not-guilty-all-n861461
  5. “NATSECDEF 2018: Preserving Justice in National Security.” GW Law. September 20, 2018. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.law.gwu.edu/natsecdef-2018-preserving-justice-national-security
  6. “Building Our Power Summit: Community Wellness and Defense.” DC Office of Victim Services. September 8, 2018. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://ovsjg.dc.gov/event/building-our-power-summit-community-wellness-and-defense
  7. “Public Charge Resources.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/public-charge/public-charge-resources
  8. Audrey Kearney, Shannon Schumacher, Drishti Pillai, Samantha Artiga, Liz Hamel.“Five Key Facts About Immigrants’ Understanding of U.S. Immigration Laws, Including Public Charge.” Kaiser Family Foundation. February 29, 2024. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/poll-finding/five-key-facts-about-immigrants-understanding-of-u-s-immigration-laws-including-public-charge/
  9. “Home Page.” Muslim Abolitionist Futures. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.muslimabolitionistfutures.org/
  10.  “Unconstitutional and Unjust: Dismantling 20 Years of Discriminatory ‘National Security’ Policy.” September 20, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2021/09/09.20.21_Unconstitutional_and_Unjust_Memo.pdf
  11. [1] “Defending Rights and Dissent and Justice for Muslims Collective Condemn Coup Attempt and POlice Political Bias, Warn Against Using Events of Jan. 6th to Impose Domestic Terrorism Statute or Other Measures to Suppress Dissent.” Defending Rights and Dissent. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.rightsanddissent.org/news/defending-rights-dissent-and-justice-for-muslims-collective-condemn-coup-and-police-political-bias-warn-against-using-events-of-jan-6-to-impose-domestic-terrorism-statute-or-other-measures-to-supp/
  12. “Moving Towards Antibigotry” Collected Essays from the Center for Antiracist Research’s Antibigotry Convening.” Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. May 2022. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/files/2022/06/Moving-Towards-Antibigotry.pdf
  13. “Islamic Pasts in the Contemporary World.” Johns Hopkins University, 2023-2024 Academic Catalogue.  Department of Islamic Studies. Accessed April 25, 2024.  https://e-catalogue.jhu.edu/course-descriptions/islamic_studies/
  14. “Home Page.” Muslim Counterpublics Lab. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.muslimcounterpublicslab.org/
  15. “Maha Hilal.” Institute for Policy Studies. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://ips-dc.org/ips-authors/maha-hilal/
  16. Maha Hilal. “Homelad Security: Two decades of terrorizing people of colour.” March 8, 2023. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/homeland-security-two-decades-terror-minorities
  17. “Close Guantanamo Rally at the White House.” Center for Constitutional Rights. January 11, 2023. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://ccrjustice.org/home/get-involved/events/close-guant-namo-rally-white-house
  18. “Programs.” Muslims for Just Futures. Accessed April 24, 2024. https://www.muslimsforjustfutures.org/programs
  19. “Darakshan Raja on LinkedIn…” Accessed April 25, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/darakshanraja/
  20. “Defending Rights and Dissent on Twitter…” May 28, 2019. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.facebook.com/donate/325757784784780/
  21. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Eugene and Agnes E Meyer Foundation. 2022. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/530241716/202303119349102405/full
  22. “Pillars Fund Announces Grants for Visionary Muslim Nonprofits.” Pillars Fund. February 24, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://pillarsfund.org/2022/02/24/pillars-fund-announces-grants-for-visionary-muslim-nonprofits/
  23. “Grantmaking.” if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility. Accessed April 24, 2024. https://www.iffdn.org/grantmaking-all
  24. “Defending Rights and Dissent”. Proteus Fund. Accessed April 24, 2024.  https://www.proteusfund.org/grant/defendingrightsanddissent-5/
  25. “Our Grantees.” AAPI Civic Engagement Fund. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://aapifund.org/grants/our-grantees/
  26. “Muslim Voter Fund.” Movement Voter Project. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://movement.vote/funds/muslim-voter-fund/
  27. “The Resilience Fund Combats Hate and Intolerance in the Greater Washington Region.” Greater Washington Community Foundation. November 6, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2024. https://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/news/resilience-grants-fall2018
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