My greatest passion as a journalist is finding gaps and filling them, and one of the gaps that has always existed in media, especially American media, is good stories about Muslim communities…”

Alaa Elassar

2019 & 2020 Scholarship Recipient
Current role: Writer at CNN

The Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF) develops the next generation of American Muslim leaders. ISF’s alums work in media, journalism, film, public interest law, and public policy to build political power and shape our narrative.

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Our Values


We believe that religion, culture, and race should not be barriers to equity and equality. All people should be treated with dignity and respect, and the voice of every citizen plays an integral role in creating inclusive communities that encourage participation by all.


ISF offers access and professional development opportunities to emerging social justice leaders in the realms of public interest law, public policy, film, and media.


We offer a unique incubator model that provides funding, mentorship, and career counseling, as well as real-world, professional experience through internships and fellowships.

2023 In Review



Total awards




Film and media grants


Internships/ Fellowships


Professional development stipends

Of the 42 scholarships in 2023:


   Ph.D.: 5

   Law: 13

  Masters: 15

  Undergraduate: 9


Public Policy

Supporting individuals pursuing government and public policy careers ensures diverse representation in politics and equitable policies.



In 2023, ISF placed 10 aspiring policymakers into internships on Capitol Hill.

ISF placed a fellow in a 9-month program with Rep. Ilhan Omar. After concluding her fellowship, she was offered a full-time position in the office of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.


You have American mainstream politics, community organizing, film, advocacy, journalism — that is every pillar of American civic change. You don’t just have one tool in the toolbox — you can’t just fix it within the system, you have to work outside of it, you have to portray it, you have to lobby it, you have to represent it. Every single person has the ability to make a difference.”

Antonio López

2017 & 2023 Scholarship Recipient
Current role: Mayor, City of East Palo Alto

Public Interest Law

Supporting law students pursuing public interest law is critical as it ensures equitable access to legal representation and promotes diversity in courts.


In 2023, in addition to 13 academic scholarships, we…

…awarded 3 bar scholarships to graduating law students who were preparing for the state bar exam. All three passed the bar exam in the same year.

…placed four Muslim judicial interns with state and federal judges to give them access to the judicial system.


My journey to law school was motivated through the burning passion to be able to uplift the voices of the Muslim community, through the field of civil rights. To be the face of Muslim representation in the legal field in a time when we really do need it, and to uphold and protect the rights that all of us so deserve.”

Malak Afaneh

2022 Scholarship Recipient
Current role: J.D. Candidate


Supporting aspiring filmmakers through ISF’s film vertical is essential as it fosters diverse representation and ensures marginalized voices are heard in the film industry.



We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the film grant and awarded 7 grants, totaling $65,000.


It is only through owning our own narratives, unapologetically, accepting ourselves as we are, as Muslim Americans, that we will begin to bring power to our communities.”

Colette Ghunim

2022 Film Grant Recipient
Current role: Filmmaker


Supporting aspiring journalists and writers through ISF’s media vertical promotes diverse representation and ensures equitable access to the media landscape.


Alum Careers

CBS News
The Guardian
NBC News
PBS NewsHour
US News and World Report
Al Jazeera


It’s because of people like you, that people like me, can break the mold of these largely exclusive and homogeneous industries like journalism.”

Erum Salam

2021 & 2022 Scholarship Recipient
Current role: Writer/Reporter for The Guardian US

2023 Program Sponsors

Abdul Sattar Rydhan Memorial Scholarship

Afshin Riaz Future Leaders Scholarship

Afzal Family Foundation

Amana Mutual Funds

Ayub Kundi Foundation

Capitol Area Muslim Bar Association

Chicago Muslim Bar Association

David Dobbins Memorial Scholarship

Doris Duke Foundation

Dr. Rahbar Scholarship

Dr. Alassar Family Scholarship

El Hibri Foundation

F. Basma Scholarship

Fikry and Dorria Fahmy Memorial Scholarship
Foundation for Intelligent Giving (FIG)

Ghulam and Arifa Azad Family Scholarship

Goats Foundation

Guillen-Omar Family

Hasan-Brown Family

Hashmi Family

Hina (Fakhera) Sherwani Memorial Scholarship

Hussain Family

Kosar and Javed Mohammed Media Scholarship

Linda Sarsour Courage and Leadership Scholarship

Mahmoud Abdelmageed Memorial Scholarship

Makhraj Endowed Scholarship

Muhammad Kulsum Zikar Scholarship

Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY)

Muslim Women Giving Circle

National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML)

Omar Sultan

Palo Alto Network Group

Rahmatara Begum Scholarship

Seham Elasmar Memorial Scholarship

Shahin-Fatemeh Scholarship

Shazi Iqbal

Shohoud Family

Shireen Abu Akleh Memorial Scholarship

Syed / Hijazi Family

Syed Shaukat Husain Memorial Scholarship

Syeda Zehra Batool Jafri Scholarship

Tarek Al Kadri, Social Justice Leadership Scholarship by MLFA

UC Irvine Muslim Alumni Scholarship

WF Fund

Zehra Attari Memorial Scholarship

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Invest in the future and develop leaders.


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