A chaplaincy sub-committee was formed out of this meeting that ultimately established the Muslim Endorsement council of CT (MECC) in March 2011 through a series of statewide consultations that included leaders of several Muslim organizations and Islamic centers. In March of 2011, MECC also organized the first annual Shura and In-service Training for imams, chaplains and other service providers to the Muslims community at Yale University.
It was in this Shura meeting of over a hundred Muslim leaders and service providers that the seeds of what became Islamic Seminary Foundation (ISF) were planted.
ISF was incorporated as a CT non-profit on September 9, 2011, with the goal of “supporting the founding of an Islamic Seminary in North America” through “raising awareness of the need for an Islamic Seminary.”
Since its inception, ISF has organized and co-sponsored numerous courses and workshops as a way of raising awareness for the need for graduate level education for Muslim American leadership.
In 2011 ISF become the land organizer of the last 7 annual Shura and In-service Training held annual at Yale University (most recently at Yale Divinity School). Plenary speakers for this conference have included:
- Chaplain Kamal Abu-Shamsieh
- Chaplain Tahara Akmal
- Prof. Zainab Alwani
- Prof. Ihsan Bagby
- Prof. Sherman Jackson
- Prof. Ingrid Mattson
- Chaplain Sohaib Sultan
- Imam Suhaib Webb
From 2013 until 2016, ISF collaborated with MECC in developing competency standards for MECC’s endorsees. They are:
- Quranic Literacy
- Prophetic Theory and Praxis
- Cross-Cultural Capability
- Facilitation Skills
- Professional Theory and Practice
In August 2016, several members of Board of ISF traveled to Dallas TX to witness the dynamic launch of the Islamic Seminary of America under the leadership of Sh Khalil Abdur-Rashid (now serving as Harvard University’s first full-time Muslim Chaplain) with Imam Omar Suleiman as the other primary instructor. With a small budget, In its first year of operation, the seminary taught over 400 adults, 200 youth, led an umrah trip and provided a variety of family and youth oriented activities in the DFW area. In addition, the seminary launched a joint masters degree program with Southern Methodist University (SMU) Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS).
In Dallas TX on April 3, 2017, ISF signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the original Islamic Seminary of America board that transferred the name, all assets and the ultimate authority for operating the seminary over to ISF.
In March 2018, ISF launched the open access, online (housed at Indiana U) peer-reviewed Journal of Islamic Faith and Practice (available in print edition form Amazon.com) The founding editorial board of the journal is :
- Dr. Zainah Alwani, Howard University – Editor-in-chief
- Dr. Ihsan Bagby, University of Kentucky
- Chaplain Omer Bajwa, Yale University
- Dr. Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University
- Dr. James Jones, Manhattanville College
- Dr. Nancy Khalil, Harvard University
- Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Harvard University
- Dr. Shariq Siddiqui, Indiana University
- Chaplain Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University
- Chaplain Nisa Muhammad, Howard University
On February 1, 2018, ISF named Dr. Ihsan Bagby, a veteran educator, researcher and community activist as its new TISA president. Dr. Bagby has already begun his journey to lead TISA into the future as a world – class educational institution.