Degree: Ph.D. School: Harvard University Sponsor: Zehra Attari Memorial Fund
Nancy A. Khalil is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Harvard University. She received a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Communication from Boston University, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Boston College and an A.M. in Anthropology from Harvard. Her research has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, MSA National, as well as Harvard’s Weatherhead Center, Pluralism Project and Center for American Political Studies. Her interests include transnational studies and migration, religious freedom and law, Muslim societies, nationalism and citizenship. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as Muslim Chaplain at Wellesley College and Advisor to their Multi-faith Living and Learning Community.
Update: Nancy co-founded a non-profit, Muslim Justice League (MJL). The Muslim Justice League (MJL), founded in Boston in 2014, defends human and civil rights against erosion in the ongoing “War on Terror.”
Major: Film Production Degree: MFA School: New York University Tisch School of the Arts-Masters Sponsor: Muslim Community Association of the Bay Area (MCA)
Imran Javed Khan has spend the better part of a decade creating Muslim related online viral videos that have received much attention inside the Muslim American community. After completing his degree in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of California at Davis, Imran worked for a number of years in the medical device industry before deciding to pursue filmmaking, his true passion, full time. Imran J. Khan is currently pursuing a masters in fine arts concentrating in film production from New York University. Imran hopes to explore the Muslim American experience though film in hopes of building bridges of understanding to mainstream America.
Message to ISF and Donors: I’m very grateful to be selected for this scholarship. This scholarship will give me the ability to focus on my academics more and my finances less, allowing me to be more successful in my field inshallah. I’m deeply honored to have been selected and would like to thank the donors and contributors to this fund for making this possible for me.
Major: Acting Degree: MFA School: Harvard-Graduate Sponsor: Dollar a Day Foundation
Osh Ghanimah is an MFA in Acting student at the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University and the recipient of a 2012 Presidential Public Service Fellowship through Harvard University’s Office of the President. Originally from Chicago, he holds a B.A. in both Theatre and English, as well as a B.S. in Secondary Education from Loyola University Chicago. Upon graduation, Osh was selected to be a Teach For America 2006 New York City Corps Member and taught 8th Grade English at Middle School 322, where he also served as English Department Teacher Leader, Chair of the School Leadership Team, and Department of Education Arts Liaison. His students progressed an average of three years in reading and writing in one academic year, and their 2007 production of Electricidad earned honorable mention at the UCAN Arts Festival and merited his school winning a grant for $50,000. After much lobbying, he also founded the Martinez Media Arts & Film Production Lab.
Upon completion of his corps experience, he was recruited to teach theatre and found the theatre program at Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem. He served his last two years at Dreamyard Preparatory School in the Bronx where he taught high school theatre and served as Chair of the School Leadership Team for two years consecutively. He also founded the Young Men’s Club, which encouraged students in his school to commit to a life of social justice and active citizenship through various volunteer-projects around the city, including the launch of Start Strong Bronx’s Denim Day to promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As an actor, has appeared on stage across the globe. Theatre: The Imaginary Invalid, Moscow Art Theatre; Meanwhile in Baghdad, NYC International Fringe Festival; Spelling Bee and Family Bonding, New York Arab-American Comedy Festival; Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Servant of Two Masters, Loyola University Chicago. Osh just completed a three month acting residency at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia where he studied under many of Stanislavsky’s direct protégés and just ended a trip where he met and networked with many phenomenal artists and arts supporters from Barcelona, Amsterdam, Venice, Rome, Florence, Paris, and Bruges. Osh is the Founder and Executive Director of a new social justice, arts project–Broadway For All–which brings together students from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds and provides them with musical theatre conservatory training and master teachers from the Broadway industry. Please visit broadwayforall.org to see how you can support it or join the team.
Osh’s Message to Supporters: I would like to thank the ISF committee for supporting Muslims who have chosen a less traditional path–a career in the arts–and for understanding that their work in the arts will play a vital role in building a more peaceful community. I am honored to represent the ISF, and I will continue to work for social justice to better my country and the world, at large.
Update: Osh founded Broadway for All and lives and works in New York.
Major: Law Degree: JD School: University of California Berkeley Sponsor: CAL Muslim Alumni Association
Samia Hossain is a second-year student at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she is the co-coordinator of the Civil Rights Outreach Project. This student-run clinic offers Know Your Rights presentations in the San Francisco Bay Area to communities affected by post-9/11 discrimination and profiling. Samia is also an active member of the South Asian Law Students Association and the Boalt Muslim Students Association. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in International Political Economy. After college, Samia spent a year in Cairo, Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar studying Arabic and teaching conflict mediation skills to refugee communities. She spent weeks on the Egypt-Libya border during the Arab uprisings as a volunteer interpreter with the United Nations, helping Bangladeshi laborers fleeing Libya obtain medical care, food, and shelter. In summer 2012, Samia worked with the ACLU’s Center for Democracy in New York working on cases related to NYPD surveillance of mosques, targeted killings in Yemen, and labor trafficking on U.S. military bases. Samia plans to continue building her legal skills to work as a future civil rights attorney and professional advocate for the Muslim ummah.
Samia’s Message to Supporters: I would like to thank ISF and the Cal Muslim Alumni Association for their support in helping me defray the costs of my legal education. Efforts to support Muslim students’ advancement in the law, politics, and media are critical to the well-being of our community. I hope that ISF will inspire further initiatives to support young Muslims’ educations, inshaAllah.
Update: Samia is currently a Judicial Law Clerk at the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of New York.
2016 Update: Samia Hossain is a Research and Writing Attorney at Federal Public Defender.
Major: Justice, Law and Society Degree: PhD School: American University Sponsor: Muslim Women Giving Circle
Maha Hilal is a PhD candidate in Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. Her area of research interest is in the field of human rights, with a focus on survivors of human rights abuses and the adverse consequences they face post-abuse. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling and her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked and volunteered at a number of human rights organizations including the Center for Victims of Torture and the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition International. She was also a Christine Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, a Kathryn Davis Peace Fellow for Arabic study at Middlebury Summer Language Schools, and a recipient of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship for Arabic study in Morocco. Upon completing her doctoral degree, she plans to pursue a career as a scholar-practitioner in the fields of human rights and conflict resolution.
Maha’s Message to Supporters: I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Islamic Scholarship Fund and the donors that made my scholarship possible. These scholarships not only succeed in helping students financially accomplish their goals, but also in giving value to their aspirations and careers, especially in fields where Muslims are most typically underrepresented. I sincerely hope that I can live up to the expectations of the ISF and that I can help pave the way for other Muslim students to enter into fields where our representation is needed most. Again, I would like to thank the ISF and its donors for establishing and supporting this incredible scholarship in the service of Allah and the Muslim community.
Dr. Maha Hilal is the inaugural Michael Ratner Middle East fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She is also an organizer with Witness Against Torture and a steering committee member of the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition. Dr. Hilal earned her doctorate in May 2014 from the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. The title of her is “’Too damn Muslim to be trusted’: The War on Terror and the Muslim American Response.”
Major: Law Degree: Law School: Harvard Law School Sponsor: CAIR Bay Area
Osama Shabaik is currently pursuing his JD at Harvard University’s law school. He graduated as a Regents Scholar with honors from UC Irvine in June 2010 with a Bachelors in Economics and a Bachelors in International Studies with a focus on Africa/Middle East. His honors thesis topic discussed the application of principles of Islamic economics within the global economy, specifically in regards to the economic crisis. Osama was also active outside the classroom while being part of the Muslim Student Union all four years of his undergrad, serving first as the MSU’s Treasurer and later as its Vice President. Osama was the first student that stood up and spoke out during Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech at UC Irvine on February 8, 2010.
Osama’ Message to Supporters: It truly is an honor to be accepted into the ISF family which includes so many well accomplished individuals who are at the forefront of bringing positive social change. I hope to be able to live up to the high standard set by other ISF scholarship recipients by combining my law degree with community activism. Having this scholarship available helps make that dream a possibility by lowering the need for student loans that often force those of us in the legal industry to take high paying jobs that have little social benefit. Your contribution to the ISF goes a long way in helping us reach our goal of cementing a Muslim American legacy rooted in our social justice activism.
Major: Law Degree: JD School: UC Hastings College of the Law Sponsor:Muslim Public Affairs Council
I was born in Merced, California as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. I grew up in the small city of Moreno Valley just outside Riverside, California, At fourteen I was in a carjacking and shot in the abdomen at point-blank range. This life changing moment has shaped the rest of my life. I am fortunate to be alive. Since this event I have been determined to advocate for disadvantaged communities and become involved in community service.
As a Mexican-American convert to Islam and a first-generation college student I faced many unique challenges while attending UCLA. In the beginning of my college career I was struggling to keep up with my peers academically. To address the anti-Muslim sentiments on campus, I partnered up with Professor Susan Plann and co-created the first seminar and curriculum that addressed the Muslim student experience at UCLA. I used school resources to educate the general student population on the diversity of the Muslim community.
In addition, as the Vice President of the Muslim Student Association I was a part of a coalition of diverse student advocacy groups on campus that included the Black, Asian Pacific, American Indian, Queer, Latino, South East Asian, and Pacific Islander Students. Together we put on workshops and rallies raising awareness of the lack of diversity in the student population, tuition hikes, a diversity component for General Educational requirement, and racial/religious tolerance on campus.
My experiences at UCLA have given me the opportunity to assist the greater Los Angeles community through various projects in the Community Programs Office and the Student Initiated Access Center. Such as Mentors for Academic and Peer Support where I tutored and peer advised students in Jordan High School in Watts. Also, as a volunteer for the Incarcerated Youth Tutorial Project (IYTP) I tutored incarcerated students to attain a GED and apply to college. These projects provided a greater context of the struggles these youth face, many of whom are of Latino and African American descent. IYTP in particular gave me the opportunity to address the issue of violent crimes proactively by going weekly and talking about their stories and sharing mine.
I was involved with UCLA’s student government as the undergraduate representative and Vice Chair of the Student Fee Advisory Committee. I oversaw the allocation of $35,000,000 of student registration fees to assist students in non-academic services. I provided support to child care services. Increased the compensation for student leaders in the retention committee, focused on helping dismissed students at UCLA return, a majority of whom where first-generation or low income students. In addition, I helped develop BruINTENT the nation’s first program to bring scholarships to homeless UCLA students.
As a Coro alumnus I was part of the nation’s oldest leadership training organization. The Coro Fellowship in public affairs is a nine month graduate program focused on experiential learning in the major sectors of public affairs; Business , Government , Non-Profit, and Labor.
Law school will allow me to utilize both my personal and academic experiences to add a different perspective to public service and law. It will enable me to gain the skills needed to be an advocate for victims and to transform their stories to empower others to make a difference.
Message to ISF and Donors: JazakAllahkhair for giving me the opportunity to become part of the ISF and greater Muslim community. Since converting to Islam I have been overwhelmed by the dedication of our community to serve the greater needs of those around them. I take pride in being a part of this community and strive to do what I can to help others as the Prophet (pbuh) has done for us and future generation. With your scholarship, I will be able to take out less loans and pay for my books. Thanks to this I will be one step closer to demonstrating to the larger American community what Muslim leadership is all about. Again, I thank you for allowing me to be one step closer to accomplishing my goals for the betterment of the Muslim and greater American community.
Update: Yannina graduated in 2015 and works at CAIR-CA as the Statewide Legislative & Government Affairs Coordinator.
Major: Public Administration School: San Francisco State University-Masters Sponsor: Bay Area Muslim Community Association (MCA)
Najeeb Kamil is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration at San Francisco State University. His focus is Policy Analysis and Development, specifically in child welfare. He obtained a master’s degree in Social Work in 2009 and has been working in the field of child welfare and child protection since then. Najeeb has published a number of articles and papers on a variety of subjects including advocacy, social justice, child welfare, and Muslim mental health issues. In addition, Najeeb studied in Egypt for two and a half years in which he obtained a certificate in classical Arabic and a Diploma in Islamic Studies. His passions are child welfare, macro-level policy, and community organizing, which he hopes to combine in his future career.
Najeeb’s Message to Supporters: I am truly blessed to have been one of the recipients for an ISF scholarship. ISF and MCA have partnered up in such a way that Muslims can really become positive contributors to social justice and social welfare issues our country is facing. I want to thank ISF and MCA for allowing me to be part of such a great endeavor and I hope that it continues to expand, encouraging Muslims to enter these important fields of study and work.
Najeeb graduated in 2014 and is currently employed as a Senior Human Services Analyst at Santa Cruz County Human Services Department.
Major: Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy Degree: MA School: The Fletcher School, Tufts University-MALD Sponsor: Zehra Attari Memorial Fund
Faiqa Mahmood is currently a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University where she is studying for the Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy. Faiqa holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB Honours) from the University of London’s International Programme in Pakistan, as well as a postgraduate degree in law from City University, London. Having completed her legal training in the UK as a Barrister, Faiqa returned to Pakistan and was admitted to the Punjab Bar as an advocate of the High Court. Prior to immigrating to the US, she was a faculty member at The Institute of Legal Studies, Islamabad, where she taught second year law students a course on land and property laws.
At Fletcher, Faiqa aims to combine her passion for law and politics and focus on the Middle East and the wider Muslim World. Upon graduation, she hopes to work as part of a research institute to help formulate recommendations and solutions to the problems faced by US foreign policy toward Muslim countries.
Faiqa’s Message to Supporters: For a Muslim to step into the field of law and politics at a turbulent time like the present can seem like a daunting challenge. It is therefore all the more heartening for students like myself to know that an organization such as the ISF strives to aid this trek into relatively unchartered territory by providing monetary as well as moral support. It is one thing to identify a dire need of the Muslim community and yet quite another to effectively address it. Jazaka Allahu khair to the ISF and all their donors for doing such a commendable effort to do both.
Update: Faiqa is currently a visiting fellow at the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center.
Major: Public Policy Degree: MA School: University of California Berkeley Sponsor: MateenMobeen Foundation
For the past four years Raheem Hanifa has worked as the Outreach Coordinator for the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan (CAIR-MI). He has been responsible for CAIR-MI workshops and trainings, including the PITFA workshop (Presenting Islam to Fellow Americans), Speaker’s Bureau Emerging Leadership trainings, coalition building and political outreach. Raheem graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Michigan State University and has experience working on political and social grassroots campaigns
As a campaign organizer and Michigan House of Representatives intern, Raheem has extensive advocacy and political organizing experience. He has worked as an assistant director for political and social grassroots campaigns across the country. Raheem has run campaign offices in Nevada, New Hampshire, and throughout Michigan. As an intern within the House Communications office for the Michigan House of Representatives, Raheem worked in different areas pertaining to media and communications. He assisted Michigan House of Representative staff with press releases, television broadcasting, and research.
Raheem Hanifa is dedicated to social justice and activism; he is continuing his quest to further causes of social justice by beginning his Master of Public Policy degree at University of California-Berkeley this fall. Raheem intends to work to develop national security policy that recognizes the delicate balance of upholding civil rights and liberties while ensuring national and domestic security.
Message to ISF Donors:
I am greatly honored to receive this generous award. I commend the Islamic Scholarship Fund, its staff, organizers and donors for establishing such a profound and impactful organization which allows the dreams and aspirations of students to be realized. It is a great comfort to know that the ISF exists and is changing lives for the better and is positively impacting the future of the Muslim-American community. Jazakallahu Khair.
Update: Raheem graduated in 2014 and is an Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.