A new year and a new energy...

While wishing 2017 a fond farewell, MPV is steaming toward the horizon with greater speed and momentum than ever. We are very pleased to welcome two new members to our Board of Trustees—Ms. Sarah Ansari Haque and Mr. Adeel Mangi.

Ms. Haque is an attorney focused on government compliance and investigations. She started her legal career as a white collar associate at Jenner & Block and then moved to the City of
Chicago Office of Inspector General as an Assistant Inspector General. Mrs. Haque is a first-generation American Muslim, born in South Bend, Indiana and currently living in Chicago.  She holds a B.A. in History from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Mr. Mangi is a litigator and partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Legal Aid Society, the Muslim Bar Association of New York, the National LGBT Bar Association, and on the Advisory Board of the Alliance of Families for Justice. In both 2017 and 2016, Mr. Mangi was named to Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC’s Benchmark: America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys' “Under 40 Hot List”.

January 20th is the Women’s March and I am happy to confirm that I will be speaking at the Los Angeles location, which last year was the largest march and drew in 750,000 people. It must be said with the #MeToo campaign and now #TimesUp I hope that the culture of sexual harassment and assault of women at the workplace will finally become history.  

We are also excited that our 3rd Annual Celebration of Life is fast approaching! This event, which celebrates individuals who make tremendous sacrifice for their work defending human rights, will take place on February 25, 2018. This year, we will be celebrating Nadia Anjuman, Xulhaz Mannan, Elham Arab, Sheikh Hamza Congera, and Numan Afifi. Please visit the event’s eventbrite page to learn more about our honorees, reserve your tickets, and become a sponsor!

Not long after Celebration of Life, the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), an intergovernmental body dedicated exclusively to the empowerment of women and promotion of gender equality, will host its annual meeting in March. MPV has been very active at the CSW meetings in past years--during 2015’s meeting, we launched our #ImamsForShe initiative—and that won’t change this year! MPV will host a side-event entitled “#ImamsForShe: Engaging Imams for Sustainable Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women and Girls,” which will showcase the work of a network of 26 Burundian Imams who formed the Alliance des Imams du Corridors Nord Pour Le Developpement Humanitaire (AICNDH) and who implemented the #ImamsForShe initiative in Northern Burundi. We will be giving you updates leading up to the event.

Speaking of updates, we are very excited to announce that MPV’s recently minted Executive Assistant, Yasmin Kadir, will soon be hosting her own podcast “ABCD”—an acronym that stands for American-born-confused-Desi—which is made possible with the generous support of the A&A Fund! The show will cover contemporary topics, connecting American culture, politics, economics, and policies with the world, featuring various guests including folks across the aisle such as Trump supporters. Stay tuned!

Finally, we invite each of you to check out the Alliance of Inclusive Muslims by visiting its website and becoming a member.

Make it a great 2018! Onward and upward,

Ani Zonneveld
  • President's Letter
  • Featured Book​​​​​​​
  • #PayAttention!
  • January Update
  • MPV In the News

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Featured Book 

Toward a Quranic Understanding of the Divine seeks the answers to these queries in the wisdom of the Quran. Only the words in the holy book are considered, free from the often-distorting lens of cultural expectations or dogma.

Authors Abdur Rab, Farouk A. Peru, and Siraj Islam start from the basic principle that seeking a path to God is humanity’s primary goal. They then explore how focusing on our real selves (nafs) helps us meet the Divine (liqa’ullah). They candidly discuss how scientific findings, including evolution, have their place in God’s natural laws and interpret scripture as spiritual lessons rather than literal accounts.

From there, the book examines the unity of God and important lessons for humanity, the difference between Divine preordination and human predestination, and the many blessed attributes found in God’s names as they appear in the Quran.

A bold, insightful exploration of Qu’ranic Islam, this extraordinary book reveals a loving, compassionate God and how His ideals, properly emulated, can transform our spiritual lives.
We cannot consider humanity’s relationship to the Divine without asking questions. How can God exist? What lessons does He have for us? If God is omnipotent, what role is there for human free will?

1. We are often sought out to assist in raising the profiles and/or human rights issues and cases. Late December, we were asked to help support a gay Egyptian man who had to flee from Egypt after his family attempted to kill him. He is a young educated professional, an accountant of 10 years, and we seek your help to assist us in getting him back on his feet. We are raising $4,000 to help him out for the next 6 months with rent and food in Los Angeles. If you can help with employment, housing and funding, please contact yasmin@mpvusa.org.

2. It has been brought to our attention that the Egyptian parliament has drawn up a legislation criminalizing atheism to appease Muslim Brotherhood in the runup to the next election. Oddly though, the Quran mandates the right to belief, see verse 2:256, and even the Moroccan highest religious authorities have come to this conclusion. Muslim-majority governments must rethink: maybe, the best way to stem the flow of Muslims from leaving Islam is to unshackle them from oppressive and human rights abuses in the name of Islam?

3. Human Rights Campaign Foundation is in the process of conducting a national survey about LGBTQ people's experience in the United States with taking leave from work. The survey takes less than 10 minutes and respondents qualify to win a $25 gift card. You can take the survey at this link.

Nobody should have to decide between their family/health and their job. This survey will help our movement gather data on how LGBTQ people are using/needing to take leave, explore the LGBTQ community's support of paid leave, and assess the barriers LGBTQ people are facing when taking time off of work for significant life events.
December Update 

MPV Los Angeles

MPV-LA hosted its annual MPV Christmas Party with a luncheon at the MPV President’s home in Los Angeles.

MPV-LA 2018 Relaunch: We are launching the MPV-LA chapter by establishing an organizing committee. The committee will be focused on organizing meetup events and community initiatives. We will be holding an organizing meeting this month to begin planning for the year. If you are interested in joining, please email Yasmin at yasmin@mpvusa.org.

January 19, 2018: “Voices of Unity Worship - an interfaith prayer experience” is a rocking musical interfaith event honoring the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Location: Temple Aliyah, 6025 Valley Circle Blvd, Woodland Hills, California 91367.
Time: 7:45 pm

Sunday, January 21st, 2018 from 2 pm to 4:30 pm join us at Temple Beth Hillel in Studio City for an interfaith social and screening of “Care”, the acclaimed documentary. There is no cost, and you are encouraged to bring friends and family! Please RSVP by Wednesday, January 17th.

MPV Atlanta 

MPV-Atlanta partnered with Masjid Al-Rabia (Chicago) and HRC-Atlanta for the #WriteforJustice program supporting incarcerated LGBTQ Muslims with written words for enacting change. We will be writing to incarcerated Muslims (both queer and non-queer) as part of an ongoing initiative.

MPV-Atlanta had our End-of-the-Year Celebration to reflect back on 2017 and begin planning for 2018. Part of our initiatives are to align with the strategic plan of MPV. We welcomed Sonali Sadequee as part of our local board during the event. Read her bio here

On January 5, MPV-Atlanta is teaming up with Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and HRC-Atlanta to host an HRC 101 jumah. Percy Brown from HRC’s National Board of Governors will discuss what HRC does and how to get involved locally, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service initiative. To join us, please RSVP here, or email kelly@mpvatlanta.org.

MPV-Atlanta has a Friday gathering each week from 1:30pm - 3pm at the Phillip Rush Center in Atlanta. Please email kelly@mpvatlanta.org for more details and to get involved locally.


On December 2, 2017 MPV-DC held its bi-weekly prayer service at the Emergence Community Arts Collective. MPV-DC will continue these prayer services in the new year, with the first service being held on January 13, 2018.

MPV-DC also held an interfaith holiday party on December 10.

Also, in January, MPV-DC will host its monthly film screening. We will be screening the film “The Sultan and the Saint,” a film about Muslim-Christian peace.