Muslims for Progressive Values wishes you a blessed Ramadan!
June 2017
What's "Progressive About Islam?"—President's Letter

By Ani Zonneveld

Oftentimes progressive Muslims are accused of being “not Muslim enough,” of “making up an American” or “western” Islam, and — among the more serious accusations — being blasphemers and apostates simply for advocating for pluralism. Usually, we don’t bother with these accusations as they typically come from the less-learned and dogmatic individuals who are brainwashed by conservative imams, religious teachers, and institutions such as al-Azhar University (Cairo) and al-Maghrib Institute (Texas).

One Muslim scholar of Islam, Professor Adis Duderija, a Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, at Griffith University, Australia, decided it was time to debunk these false premises of slandering progressive Muslims and our philosophy of Islam. He came up with the following definition for Progressive Islam:

Dr. Duderija relates that the above points are not plucked from the air, but "are based on a decade-long extensive record of publishing on these topics, with close to 100 pages of notes with academic references spread across various works including books, book chapters, academic journals, encyclopedia articles and etc."

All this to say that the progressive Muslim movement is growing, with more women taking ownership of spiritual leadership and of scholarship, creating spaces that are inclusive of all people.
Our adversaries recognize that. Thus the attacks have become more fierce and dangerous: in Malaysia, and on a daily basis, government-sponsored websites and groups innocently lay the framework for death threats of progressive Muslims by ISIS-minded Muslims; in the U.S., Yasmin Mogahed goes on the offense about women-led coed congregations in prayer. Yes, they are feeling the change bubbling from underneath their feet.
To quote Mahatma Ghandi:
First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.

Onward and upward, 
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  • MPV Chicago
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We are working across the United States and around the world to fight extremism and intolerance. Your support is invaluable.
On Monday, May 22, the California Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed a bill that contained provisions to limit child marriage in the Golden State. Although child and forced marriages are not typically associated with developed countries, there are many states in the U.S. that do not even have a minimum marriage age. Among these states, California is ranked 6th in per capita marriages among people between ages 15-17. Although this bill does not impose a legal age for marriage, it does provide certain restrictions by requiring minors to acquire permits in order to wed. MPV did its part in promoting this bill: in solidarity with our friends at Feminist Majority and Tahirih Justice Center, we raised awareness for the hearing and released a press release. In addition we recommend this Op-Ed by a Californian victim of child marriage.
June 12th, LOS ANGELES: Muslims for Progressive Values is a community partner of the #ResistMarch, previous known as the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade. Watch our video message in support of human rights for all, and for details about the march here.  

June 14th, GLOBAL: WATERtalks: Feminist Conversations in Religion Series - “Is Sharia Law Still Relevant?”  will feature Ani Zonneveld in this one-hour digital forum at 1 pm Eastern Time. WATER - Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual was founded in 1983 by Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu to empower women in addressing structural violence for over thirty years. To register and submit your questions in advance please visit here.

June 16 & 17, BERLIN: Seyran Ateş, a well-known human rights lawyer and a German of Turkish heritage, will be launching an inclusive, women-led mosque, The Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque, at the St. Johannis Church, Alt-Moabit 25, 10559 Berlin. MPV’s Ani Zonneveld has been invited to do the azan (the call for prayer), to sing a few of her Islamic hymns at its first inaugural Friday prayer service, and to speak about the global progressive Muslim movement at a Symposium on Islam the following day. For more information, please write to
MPV Los Angeles

We had our first iftar hosted by long-time members Maisa and Patrick Faucette. We broke our fast with water and dates, followed by maghrib prayer led by Ani Zonneveld. As many in LA are from “somewhere else”, it was good to have a community to break fast with. For upcoming iftars and activities in Los Angeles, visit our page. MVP-LA.
MPV San Francisco Bay Area

MPV S.F./Bay Area hosted a discussion on mixed gender prayers entitled Knocking Down The Divide: The Need for Mixed Gender Prayers, facilitated by Asad Ahmed (left), professor of Near East Studies at UC Berkeley on May 27th, the first day of Ramadan. The discussion centered on the need to defend the right of women to lead mixed gender prayers not from a feminist or social justice perspective, though those are important, but rather from a position from different Islamic schools of thought and verses from The Qur’an and various Hadiths. The discussion was lively and informative and everyone came away with a stronger understanding of not only the history of women leading mixed gender prayers since the time of The Prophet (PBUH), but also how to defend this perspective in a fact-based way.

After the discussion a few members proceeded on to Qal’bu Maryam masjid to break the fast with dates, water and some amazing food that was brought by members of the masjid and visitors. A traditional Zikr was performed, Maghrib prayers led by Rabi’a Keeble founder of the masjid, and a Janazah funeral prayer for two young men, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Ricky John Best, who were slain on May 26 in Portland for trying to protect two Muslim women from a knife-wielding White Supremacist.
MPV S.F./Bay Area will be holding another Iftar potluck and Maghrib communal prayer on June 17th at Martin De Porres House of Hospitality. For information, please visit San Francisco’s page here.
MPV Chicago

MPV-Chicago members attend Friday prayers at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago (656 W. Barry Ave). The prayers are held by a group called Masjid Al-Rabia. For future Iftar and activities, please visit Chicago’s Facebook page.
MPV Washington, DC

MPV-DC chapter is holding its annual iftar on June 3. This is an interfaith gathering of people from the area. The event will consist of group prayers, poetry, female-led Maghrib prayer, dinner, and musical performance. For future Iftar and activities, please visit the DC page.

On July 1, MPV-DC will co-host an event with the Human Rights Campaign to celebrate Eid al Fitr. We will be screening the documentary Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. 
MPV New York

On June 15th, MPV NY will be co-hosting an inclusive LGBTQ iftar with New York City Commission on Human Rights in New York City, at 8 pm. Address: 208 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011-7702. All are welcome!

You can find out about news and events on Muslims For Progressive Values-New York (MPV-NY) on the Facebook group page. Follow us on Facebook!

MPV Netherlands

MPV Nederland held its second Inclusive Jum’a on May 19. We came together with a small group of likeminded people to enjoy a spiritual uplifting. We reflected on some of the most-recited verses of the Qur’an — al maa’oon and al ‘alaq — and how they were revealed for specific circumstances and people, yet remain of vital importance to us in our day and age.

Our next Inclusive Jum’a will be held on June 2. Check out the event on Facebook for more information. We will also hold an inclusive iftar, date and location to be announced! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep updated. Please visit our website for details. 

KMU Malaysia

Roundtable Consultation on the Roles of Women in Prevention and Counter Violent Extremism

KMU participated in a Roundtable Consultation on the Roles of Women in Prevention / Counter Violent Extremism (P/CVE) co-organized by Global Center on Cooperative Security and IMAN Research. To read more about this consultation, please follow this link.

MPV’s interfaith Islamic marriage services is making the news. Click here to learn more!