The Oldest Progressive Muslim Organization in America
Do No Harm 

This March, MPV is skipping the Human Rights Council and is instead focused on our role as a partner to UN Women’s new initiative Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030, starting with its launch on March 20. We believe the strategy is achievable because of its broad and intersectional scope. If you’re in New York March 20, please join us. See programming and RSVP details below. And on International Women’s Day, March 8, look out for our newsletter which will serve as a summary of our #ImamsForShe initiative.

(Pictured: Some of MPV's Board Members, president Ani Zonneveld and Mr. Frej Fenniche)

Celebration of Life on February 10 brought in a diverse crowd, a mix of MPV’s base, partner organizations and new faces in honoring Masih Alinejad, 16 Saudi women in jail and Sudanese Mohammad Taha killed in the 80s for his reforming ideas. We also honored Los Angeles’ television station KCET for their community programming and Tunisian President Essebsi for his women’s rights initiatives. As hard as it is to organize such an event, it is emotionally fulfilling to be surrounded with friends and supporters. Check out the Arabic news report by Al-Hurra, photos of the event, and event videos here.

In a New York Times article “Creeping Liberalism in American Islam”, MPV was an example for the counterculture the conservative and traditional American Muslim leaders are so fearful of. We at MPV feel vindicated. For the last 12 years we have been hammering away our message: an inclusive and human rights affirming Islam, and the right to think critically and freely. And it is this right that has led the way for many American Muslims rejecting the traditional leadership who are for the most part misogynistic, homophobic and patriarchal. And I say “ameen” to that!  

In the U.S., FGM/C and religious based discrimination is becoming rampant under the cover of “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA). RFRA was passed in 1993 intended to protect the rights of religious minorities, but has instead been used to prop up discriminatory practices in the name of religion of the faith majority, that is, of some Christians. Of course, some conservative Muslims are also learning to use the same trick.

In a FGM/C, a case against a Shi’a/Bohra minority group in Detroit, the community hired attorney Alan Dershowitz to advice them in the use of  RFRA in defense of FGM/C. RFRA was also utilized in defense of a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay a couple; and companies use RFRA to exempt themselves from providing health insurance coverage of the pill to its female employees. The misuse of RFRA continues to grow.

To end the misuse, with Americans United for Separation of Church and State taking the lead, MPV and along with many leaders from the civil rights, social justice and faith communities, signed on to support a legislation reintroduced by Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, and Senator Kamala D. Harris (CA) to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The Do No Harm Act would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights. Read about it here.

“Do Not Harm,” is such a simple phrase, but how we have to fight to achieve it.  

Onward and upward…

Ani Zonneveld
  • President's Letter
  • Featured Book
  • U.N. Updates
  • Chapter Updates
  • MPV in the News

The progressive Muslim voice for human rights and social justice. Thanks for your charitable donation!
Featured Book 

Rabi'a From Narrative to Myth: The Many Faces of Islam's Most Famous Woman Saint, Rabi'a al-'Adawwiya  
        by Rkia Elaroui Cornell 

Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyya is a figure of myth. Certainly, a woman by this name was born in Basra, Iraq, in the eighth century, but her life remains recorded only in legends, stories, poems and hagiographies. The various depictions of her – as a deeply spiritual ascetic, an existentialist rebel, and a romantic lover – seem impossible to reconcile, and yet Rabi‘a has transcended these narratives to become a global symbol of both Sufi and modern secular culture. Buy the book here

Choose Muslims for Progressive Values as a beneficiary when you shop on and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price to MPV! 
U.N. Update 

Commission on the Status of Women  

LaunchUN Women’s new initiative Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030.
Wednesday March 20, 2019
9:45 –11:15 a.m. (EST)
Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters

As a partner organization of this initiative, MPV’s president Ani Zonneveld will share our strategic ideas in fulfilling this vision. Other speakers confirmed are:

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women: Introduction of Keynote Speaker
H.E. António Guterres Secretary General of the United Nations: launch of strategy
Ms. Jakomba Jabbie, girl gender activist from The Gambia: statement

H.E. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil, Commissioner, African Union
H.E Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, Secretaría General Ibero-Americana
H.E. Narjes Saidane, Ambassador and Permanent Observer to the UN, La Francophonie
Dr. Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary General, the Commonwealth
Hon. Patricia A. Torsney, former MP and Permanent Observer of the IPU to the UN

Discussants: reflections on making reforms happen

H.E. Mr. Koro Bessho, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN (tbc)
H.E Dame Karen Elizabeth Pierce, Permanent Representative of the U.K. to the UN (tbc)
H.E. François Delattre Permanent Representative of France to the UN (tbc)
Ms. Irene Khan, Director-General, International Development Law Organization
Ms. Ani Zonneveld, founder and President, Muslims for Progressive Values
Ms. Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director, UN Women Americas and the Caribbean

To attend you must RSVP to Beatrice Duncan, or +1 917 327-3540

Sponsored by: UN Women Headquarters, African Union, the Commonwealth, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and Secretaría General Ibero-Americana

CSW side-event: Preventing Gender-based Violence: the role of religious actors 
Friday March 22, 2019,
3:00 - 4:15 p.m. (EST)
Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters

MPV’s president Ani Zonneveld speaks on this panel, sharing both the positive and negative effects of hate speech by religious leaders, and the outline of the workshop she designed for OSAPG in empowering stakeholders toward reforming educational curriculum in Muslim societies.

To attend you must secure a pass and register here.

Organized by Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG), co-sponsored by UN WOMEN, UNFPA, UNAIDS and ACT Alliance.
Chapter Updates 


March 27: MPV’s President Ani Zonneveld will be speaking at the Lenten Interfaith Dialogue Series at 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral (28 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103). 

To register please visit event site. For more details, contact


March 8: MPV-NY will be hosting the first 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 & mingle! To participate and get more information, please sign up either through MPV-NY event page or MPV-NY Meetup.

March 15: MPV-NY will be hosting the third of a series of monthly Friday Jum’a Prayers with a discussion on pertinent matters for the community.To participate and get more information, please sign up either through MPV-NY event page or MPV-NY Meetup.


March 9: MPV-DC will host another prayer/halaqa.
March 24MPV-DC will host a film screening of Divine Women: When God Was a Girl.  Both of these events will take place at the Cleveland Park Public Library.

MPV San Francisco/Bay Area 

March 8, MPV S.F./Bay Area will be hosting second Jum’a again. Please find out more information on our Meetup page or go to our FaceBook page to get more information.
MPV in the News

Arabic al-Hura | Report on Celebration of Life  (in Arabic) | February 11, 2019

When MPV is referenced as the counterculture , we know our influence in changing Muslim culture in America is working and confirmed with: “When you examine the internal discussions among conservative Muslim leaders or pundits in America today,....they seem worried about a creeping liberalism within American Islam.”
New York Times | The Creeping Liberalism in American Islam | February 18, 2019