The Muslim Link Reports on ILIA’s Initiatives


On February 26, 2010, The Muslim Link reported on ILIA’s initiatives. It appeared on their Rabi-Al-Awwal 1431 print edition.

Below is the transcript from the newspaper:

Local Org Seeks to Take Leadership Training National

Written by Arjumand Yousuf, Muslim Link Staff Writer
Friday, 26 February 2010

The Islamic Leadership Institute of America (ILIA) “a non-profit organization dedicated to the realization of leadership, capacity building and institutional sustainability” based out of Howard County, MD is the first non-profit institute of its kind which strives to promote leadership opportunities for Muslims nationwide while incorporating the teachings of the Quran and sunnah.

Founded by Brother Ayman Nassar, the mission of this organization is to provide leadership training at both the individual and institutional levels through youth development, institutional stability, and community building for Muslim communities throughout North America. “We saw a need to help Muslim organizations improve their maturity, governance, and sustainability” says Nassar.

Thus, ILIA was established and the organization put programs in place to help bridge the leadership gap. These programs include youth development workshops, youth leadership retreats and mentoring programs, teacher leadership training, strategic planning for Islamic non-profits, homeless shelter support and inmate transition support. Each training session usually focuses on one leadership trait such as patience, although longer programs may combine traits geared toward a particular objective. Students can earn educational units which each full day of instruction and work towards a certificate in Islamic Leadership.

Established in June of 2009, this young non-profit organization has already accomplished a lot in its young lifetime. Over the past year, ILIA has held five successful leadership training programs including one held in Ann Arbor Michigan in November of 2009 geared towards educators and parents. Over 35 individuals attended this session that covered topics on effective communication such as active listening, coaching, motivation, conflict resolution, and negotiation. The Institute also published a book titled Patience in Practice and two workbooks titled Make The Click-Bridge the Gap and Youth Project Management.

What makes this organization unique and different? It incorporates Islamic teachings into leadership practices and principles such as patience explained Nassar, and they offer workshops and training sessions at fraction of the cost of similar organizations. The Board of ILIA consists of six members five brothers and a sister of varying ages and cultural backgrounds which brings diversity to the organization. The use of technology such as web conferencing and phone conferencing also allows the organization to keep overhead costs low.

Some upcoming projects this year for ILIA include a teen communication workshop scheduled for March 13 in College Park, MD. This seven hour intensive workshop will use group activities, exercises, assessments, and case study analysis to provide parents, teachers, educators, and youth coaches with different tools and approaches on how to deal effectively with teens. Another unique opportunity for teens coming up during spring break in April titled “Leadership for the Heart” is an ummrah program combining worship, recreational, social and educational activities. Participants will travel to Makkah, and Medina where they will be immersed in an Islamic environment, perform an umrah, and visit orphan children in Jeddah. An additional training program focusing on family leadership is scheduled to be held in May 2009.

Thus far ILIA has provided training and workshops in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., New York, and Michigan, but this national organization would like to expand and provide programs in other states as well. Until December the organization’s plans were up to speed, but the organization has slowed down a little bit, because of the need for more funding explained Nassar. The organization’s long term goals include creating a leadership resource center in the Baltimore/Washington area equipped with a library from which Muslims and non-Muslims alike can benefit, and being recognized nationally as an institution that provides leadership training by building partnerships with masjids and Islamic centers across the country.

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