The Oldest Progressive Muslim Organization in America
 
 
        
 
 
#NoHateInMyFaith

MPV’s community would like to wish all our Muslim folks a very happy Eid! Now back to work...

The one consistent theme that threads through many of the issues MPV works on in our advocacy, our educational forums, our work at the UN and globally and one that rears its head in the most violent, arrogant, in powerful abhorrent ways, is the use of hate in the name of religion, and in MPV’s work, in Islam.

When hate imams dominate our mosques and the satellite TV channels, spewing hate of others — Sunni on Shia, Shia on Sunni, Sunni on Ahmadiyyas, on Jews, on apostate, on homosexuals, on women’s basic rights — we have a huge and daunting task against us. How do we overcome this tsunami of hate?

As the president of an organization with ECOSOC status at the United Nations, I am around a lot of diplomats, policy makers and UN executives who, for the most part, have an aversion toward religion. Our mere presence in these circles challenges their notion of Islam, which makes their hostility understandable, though not excusable. If Muslim majority countries justify their inhumane treatment of their own citizens in the name of religion — Iran prefers hanging while Saudi Arabia prefers chopping off the heads of homosexuals and apostates at the Deera “Chop Chop” Square (as it’s often called) after Friday prayers — it is a small wonder that Islam’s reputation as a religion, is in the gutter.

Hate is an easy sell. It is tribal, taps into the basest part of our  brains. Love and compassion taps into our higher spiritual being. Not such an easy sell.

Hate is an imam in Mauritania who preaches a $10,000 award for the killing of a black Mauritanian, Mohamed M’khaitir , a descendant of slaves who wrote against slavery, outlawed in 1987 but culturally rampantly practiced.

Hate is when our Imam in our #ImamsForShe network faces assassination attempts— attempts that fortunately failed.

Self-hate is the killer of the Pulse nightclub hating on himself so much as to take himself and others with him down, a hate instilled in him by the religious leaders of his mosque.

Hate is the result of shootings at synagogues, at mosques, at sikh temples, and Black churches.

We, have to put an end to this theology and the cycle of hate. You and I have to do our part. Please join me in signing up to our #NoHateInMyFaith Campaign, and here is the pledge:

I pledge to refute and combat discrimination against any individual or community, including the LGBTQ+ community, women, Jews, Shi’a, Sunni, and Ahmadiyya Muslims, Baha’i, non-Muslims, people of all faiths and of no faiths, or any “other,” no matter who that other is. I pledge to eradicate all divisive, homophobic, and/or misogynistic teachings in my community and in the religious institutions I am affiliated with, and will affirm the dignity of all individuals.

So join me please, send a text message with the word “Unity” to the number 52886 and pledge to do away with hate in your own communities.

Onward and upward….






Ani Zonneveld
 
 
 
 
 
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  • U.N. Update
  • National Updates
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U.N. Update 

MPV will co-host a side event at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The panel will aim to create space to foster discussion on the value of increasing “religious literacy,” as well as “religious freedom literacy,” among the actors tasked with responding to human rights violations in international and diplomacy spaces.
Date: June 24, 2019     Time: 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.     Room: XXV of the Palais des Nations.


  • Moderator: Ani Zonneveld, Muslims for Progressive Values/Alliance of Inclusive Muslims
  • Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Rep for Human Rights
  • Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief 
  • Imam and Dr. Arben Ramkaj, President: Inter- Religious Collaboration Center in Elbasan, Albania 
  • Abdisaid Ismail, co-founder and director of MaPCo (Maandoon for Peaceful Co-existence), Puntland, Somalia; author of “The Rule of Apostasy in Islam: Is it true?”

Thank you to our sponsors:
  • Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands  
  • Delegation of the European Union to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva


Organizers:

  • Muslims for Progressive Values
  • Alliance of Inclusive Muslims
  • Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

 
 
 
 
 
National Update

June 15: MPV Ambassador Blair Imani will be present at a Q&A session following a 6:00 p.m. screening of Accept the Call at Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center in New York, NY. Accept the Call tells the story of a father who tries to understand why his son would join an extremist organization in a foreign country, exploring racism and prejudice against immigrants, the rise of targeted recruitment by radicalized groups, and the struggles of Muslim youth growing up in the US today.

There will be an additional screening followed by Q&A 5:30 p.m. on June 16; More information is available here.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter Updates 


MPV-NY

On May 9,  MPV-NY co-hosted “In the Footsteps of Prophets: Refugees & the Spiritual Journey,” an iftar and interfaith panel discussion. The focus was on the refugee crisis and looking at the roles of impacted communities as helpers and allies.

On May 10, MPV-NY co-hosted “Standing Together: An Interfaith iftar and Discussion” with Riverside Church Young Adult community. There was a film viewing of al-imam, prayer, iftar dinner and a guided discussion with the hopes of making new friends and learning how our communities of faith can enrich and support one another in standing up for the shared values.

On May 14, MPV-NY co-hosted “Sadhana Satsangh for Hindu-Muslim Unity” iftar with Sadhana:Coalition of Progressive Hindus and Women for Afghan Women. This Satsangh brought communities of both faiths together during the holy month of Ramadan and prayed for continued Hindu-Muslim unity and an end to all religious violence and extremism.

On May 17, MPV-NY hosted its annual Community Potluck Iftar. It was a joyous time for new and old community members to gather for Friday Jum’a Prayers and break fast over a shared iftar meal. Members reflected on their Ramadan experience and how important judgement free spaces are essential for MPV-NY community to flourish.  

On May 20, MPV-NY co-sponsored an iftar dinner hosted at The Center in partnership with organizations serving the LGBTQ Muslim community. The evening was meant to create a safe space for all community members, while also celebrating unity within LGBTQ communities of faith.
 
June 14: MPV-NY will be hosting the second of 2019 Interfaith Couple series. It is an excellent opportunity to catch up with like-minded couples who have partners of a different backgrounds. Typically set up at a local NYC/NJ restaurant, participant will share meals and mingle! To participate and get more information, please stay tuned and sign up either through MPV-NY event page or MPV-NY Meetup.
 
June 21: MPV-NY will be hosting a Friday Jum’a Prayer and will discuss what gender expectations existed and what reinterpretation of those expectation in Muslims communities domestically and abroad would be. To participate and get more information, please stay tune and sign up either through MPV-NY event page or MPV-NY Meetup.


MPV-DC

In May, MPV-DC celebrated Ramadan in style by hosting a suhoor event and its annual iftar dinner. On May 18, MPV-DC held a suhoor breakfast event at Kramerbooks restaurant in D.C.  On May 31, MPV-DC co-hosted its annual iftar dinner with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation at the HRC headquarters in DC. The event was attended by 100 people from the community, and speakers included Khizr Khan, Kazi Mannan, and Ani Zonneveld.

On June 4, MPV-DC will be hosting its annual Eid prayer and lunch. Members of the community will gather for a mixed gender prayer at the Cleveland Park Public Library followed by lunch at Open City Diner.

MPV-Boston 

MPV-Boston held their iftar and one year chapter anniversary on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. A year of chapter ended with the chapter growth of four times the size it had initially started with. This event had incredible speakers, raffling of Ramadan gifts, games with children, Maghreb prayer arrangement, dinner and henna.

The event began with a personal testimonial on the importance of remaining strong and patient in adversity. A second speaker provided  Qur’anic context on the significance of fasting. The third speaker shared some beautiful texts that links people through the core of spirituality of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Catholics, and Jews. This speech communicated a strong message about the oneness among mankind. The fourth and final speaker, spoke on interfaith coalition and the struggles of practicing faith in current times. After a beautiful adhan, guests had iftar, there followed prayers and genuine networking to build bonds with fellow progressive Muslims.

MPV-Atlanta

During the month of Ramadan, MPV-Atlanta hosted several iftars for the community, including a potluck iftar, an outside iftar on the Atlanta Beltline, and our annual Beer & Bacon Iftar (halal, of course). Each of these iftars helped bring together the community and our friends and family in an inclusive environment.

During the weekend of May 17, MPV-Atlanta hosted its annual Ramadan Retreat in the North Georgia mountains. The purpose of the retreat was to provide a low-programming and relaxing environment with particular focus on those who either do not have the ability to be with community for the full month or do not have the opportunity to be fully open about themselves — such as queer or trans individuals — during Ramadan.

On June 5, MPV-Atlanta held Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Phillip Rush Center followed by lunch.

June 8: MPV-Atlanta will have an Eid Brunch at Jai Ho followed by a community Nikah ceremony. Email kelly@mpvatlanta.org for details.

MPV-Atlanta meets for jum'a weekly on Fridays from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. at the Phillip Rush Center. Email kelly@mpvatlanta.org for details.