Muslim Legal Fund Calls for Donors

Article excerpt

The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) held a benefit banquet at the Westin Tysons Corner Hotel in Falls Church, VA on Nov. 3.

Marwan Ahmad, head of MLFA's Washington, DC office, welcomed attendees and described the MLFA as a national civil liberties legal fund established in 2001. Its nine regional offices support legal cases that involve civil liberty encroachments. MLFA has supported many of the cases mentioned over the years in the Washington Report, including the Holy Land Foundation case (see p. 17), whose appeal the Supreme Court refused to hear the previous week. MLFA helped Sami Al-Arian, who was not convicted of supporting terrorism, but remains on house arrest pending contempt of court charges. MLFA succeeded in helping the six American imams who were pulled from a plane, arrested and interrogated for hours.

Dr. Shaker Sayed, MLFA's regional director, encouraged Muslims to build coalitions with other Muslim and non-Muslim organizations to fight for their rights. African Americans didn't get their rights without a long fight, he noted. "We're Americans like everyone else. We just want peace, justice and freedom. Squeaky wheels get greased. You're not making enough noise if you're taking a beating and not fighting back. You have the right to fight back," Sayed concluded.

MLFA executive director Khalil Meek pointed out that MLFA is the only national legal fund dedicated to defending Muslims' civil liberties in American courtrooms. "We're not lawyers," Meek explained, "we're a 501(c)(3) charity which collects money from the Muslim community and uses it to review legal cases, evaluate attorneys, negotiates fees and provide funding for selected cases that have the greatest potential to impact civil rights and liberties in America."

"As a citizen of this country, I love America and the ideals and principles for which it stands," Meek stated, one of which is "fair, impartial blind justice. …