March 2017
President's Letter

By Ani Zonneveld

Dear Everyone,

As politics in America become increasingly tumultuous, Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), an organization founded in Los Angeles, the heart of liberal America and of surfers, will continue to ride these waves of uncertainty.   
To help us ride these waves we have strengthened our core, bolstering our organization with a new Board of Trustees which reflects the true scope of our work — fulfilling the many demands, expected, requested and needed from our grassroots, to policy makers, and to the U.N. MPV is very fortunate and honored to welcome Michael Alexander, Ali Parsa, Nahil Sharkasi, Misbah Tahir, and Kevin Jennings to this board. In addition, joining our Advisory Board is Ambassador Roderick van Schreven (retired). Please visit our website for the biographies of these esteemed members and the press releases of these announcements.  
Meanwhile, in America, people are continuing to resist the Trump administration’s many infringements of civic and human rights in the streets and in the courts. For us at MPV, not only do we have to keep focusing on human rights abuses in the name of Islam in the Muslim world, but we now have to refocus our fights on winning and preventing reproductive rights, anti-discrimination laws of LGBTQI, and Religious Freedom Act progress in the last eight years from sliding back.

Moving onward and upwards!

Human Rights Council - Geneva
Join us at a side event “Facing Up to the Global Avalanche of Hate: The Impact of Fundamentalism and Extremism on Cultural Rights,” a discussion in conjunction with the release of Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune’s report. Also on the panel are Magnus Ag (Freemuse), Samia Allalou (journalist, director), Professor Chetan Ghatt (Center for the Study of Human Rights), Alejandra Sarda-Chandiramani, and MPV’s Ani Zonneveld as moderator.
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Progressive Muslim values are universal human values. Support our work at home and abroad with a tax-deducible contribution today. Thank you!

Please pencil in March 20th for a not-to-be-missed event at the sixty-first Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) at the UN headquarters in partnership with UN Women, Faith and Feminism, Baha’i, Church of Sweden, Musawah, MCC, MenEngage, WYWCA, City of New York, and Muslims for Progressive Values! More details to follow.

The book The Imperatives of Progressive Islam brings together the research of leading progressive Muslim scholars, incorporating issues pertaining to politics, jurisprudence, ethics, theology, epistemology, gender and hermeneutics in the Islamic tradition. It provides a comprehensive discussion of the normative imperatives behind a progressive Muslim thought, while outlining its various values and aims.

Dr. Adis Duderija is a lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society at Griffith University, Australia and a Scholarly Advisor to MPV Australia. He also co-wrote an educational booklet titled Islamic Teachings on Contemporary Issues for Young Muslims, published by the National Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne. The educational resource, available for free, covers eight themes aimed at equipping students in order to question and understand how young Muslims identify, navigate and relate to their social, religious and political worlds.


MARCH 5: MPV has joined forces with Caring Across Generations, an inter-faith alliance committed to improving elderly access to care and expanding the rights of care-takers. Join us at Temple Beth Hillel and participate in our workshop. This workshop will focus on two young people whose spouses have been afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer. Jeffery Alder and Dana Julian will share their experiences, their path to survival and their advice. Please call/text me, Jim Ghaznavi, at 405.613.8942 with any questions.

MARCH 12: Join MPV in celebration of Women's Rights Day for a panel discussion at California State Fullerton University on women's issues from various women's perspective, which promises to be a very informative experience. Organized by California Women's Society for Democracy in Iran.

Visit MPV-LA’s Meetup page for upcoming activities.

February was a busy month for us starting with a visit to the Art of the Quran Exhibit: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, featuring 50 of the most sumptuous manuscripts from Herat to Istanbul  at the Freer Sackler Galleries. We followed our visit by a group lunch.

We also attended the Iranian Film Festival in Maryland and joined the local Jewish community for a Jewish-Muslim Shabbat/Jummah dinner (right). This was an informal event designed to bring together young Jewish and Muslim professionals and is part of MPV-DC’s broader interfaith initiatives.

Visit MPV-DC’s Meetup page for upcoming activities.

MPV-Atlanta was featured as a speaker at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. We introduced the film “In-Between.” We will also be studying The Qur’an and Woman by Amina Wadud and supplementary resources during our Friday gatherings at 1:30pm. If you are interested in joining us, please email us at kelly@mpvatlanta.org.

MPV-Atlanta is in the planning stages for a speaker series focused around MPV’s 10 principles. Topics planned include Political Prisoners, Government, LGBTQI Muslims, and #WaystoBeMuslim.

Contact kelly@mpvatlanta.org for more information.

MPV-Chicago meets every Friday for Jumma prayers with Masjid Al-Rabia, a women-centered and LBTQIA affirming Muslim organization. The prayers are held at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago (656 W. Barry Ave, Chicago, IL, 60657. Khutbas (Sermons) begin at 1:30 pm. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send them to akarrar01@gmail.com.

ColUM (Columbus Unity Mosque) associated with MPV and ETJC.

We continue to meet for Jumma prayers and for Quran study and pot luck Sunday evenings.
Our organizer, Frank Parmir, represented ColUM at the One Mile Prayer March organized by the People's Justice Project, City of Hope Church, and others. The demonstration was a call to demand that the Columbus Police Department establish a gentler model of peace-keeping. Last summer a teen named Ty're King was shot while running “away” from uniformed officers and Henry Green was shot by un-uniformed officers. In both instances the police claimed the victims were armed. That is in dispute.

Ty're's grandmother held a prayer in the lobby of the Police building during the march and Frank recited an Islamic prayer in the police lobby during the demonstration.

MPV AUSTRALIA On 29 Jan., a group from MPV Victoria joined the Quaker Silent Vigil in solidarity with the First Peoples of Australia. The vigil was part of a protest to transfer the date of Australia Day from the date of the invasion of the First Fleet. Visit here for further info.

MPV Australia’s #WaysToBeMuslim campaign continues to gain traction! The campaign aims to associate human faces with an often-political narrative and demonstrate that no one can be too Muslim or not Muslim enough, because there are 1.6 billion ways to be Muslim. Visit this page for more photos and information. Help us take it worldwide! Featured here: Blanca Elmir.
On Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue for Youth (IIDY)

The application for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue for Youth (IIDY) is officially live and due on March 15, 2017! IIDY is a two-day dialogue that advocates for religious minorities’ rights as laid out in the Marrakesh Declaration and Freedom of Religion and Belief, targeting champions for change among the Malaysian youth! Program made possible thanks to funding from the British High Commission. For more info please click here.

MPV Nederland On March 10, Director of MPV Nederland, Fenna ten Berge, will speak on an International Women’s week event in Delft about domestic violence and Islam and the impact on society and family life. She will utilise Islamic tools from the Qur’an and Sunnah together with contemporary practises to provide the necessary tools to battle domestic and gender-based violence in the name of Islam. Please check here for details or for further questions email fenna@mpvnederland.org.

• MPV-Australia featured in this piece “Young Australian Muslims share Progressive Values”, Australian News 24, Feb. 3, 2017.
• Ani Zonneveld interviewed in the Markaz Review, "Muslim American Artists and Activists Cope with Trump's Dystopian Reality", Feb. 16, 2017.
• Coalition campaign for women’s reproductive rights: “Yes People of Faith can Absolutely Support Planned Parenthood”, HuffingtonPost, Jan, 20, 2017.
• MPV’s Ani Zonneveld interviewed on Los Angeles’ largest public radio on the roundup of immigrants on Take Two “Trump's opponents on immigration: faith leaders”, KPCC, February 24, 2017.