December 2016
Here at Muslims for Progressive Values, we wish you very Happy Holidays among family and friends. Thank you for your time, attention and support through the year.

Friends, we would like to share some exciting news with you. Bassem Youssef, the former heart surgeon and satirist variously known in Egypt and throughout the Arab world as “the Egyptian Jon Stewart,” will be present and honored at our Celebration of Life event in Los Angeles, on Jan. 15, 2017.

He will receive the 2017 Badshah Khan Beacon of Truth Award for being an outspoken activist on behalf of the Egyptian people. To meet him at our Celebration of Life event, reserve your places today.

Watch excerpts of our 1st Celebration of Life and join us for our 2nd annual Celebration of Life at CBS Studios on January 15th, 2017.

Celebration of Life is a novel interactive approach to raising awareness about human rights heroes, with celebrity guests delivering a monologue as the activists they are honoring. Our honorees for 2017 are: Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef; Pakistani Sufi singer Amjad Sabri, Palestinian-Saudi poet Ashraf Fayadh, Afghanistan's first female rapper, Paradise Sarouri, Iran’s most celebrated young poet, and Pakistani model, actress and feminist activist Qandeel Baloch, with comedian Mona Shaikh as MC.

Purchase your tickets today! If you cannot attend and would like to support our cause, please donate or buy an advertisement. Info. Become a sponsor, learn more!

From  7:00 - 9:00 pm, Muslim Women Speak in the Muslim Women Speakers series, among them MPV’s President Ani Osman-Zonneveld with Soraya Dean, Meymuna Hussein-Cattan and Ferial Masry for a conversation about Islam at Temple Judea, 5429 Lindley Ave, Tarzana, CA 91356. Contact Soraya (818) 395 2032 to RSVP at info@mpvusa.org. See Facebook page.
Quick links:

Recommended title A new scholarly anthology: The roster of Muslim superheroes in the comic book medium has grown over the years, as has the complexity of their depictions. Forthcoming in 2017, Muslim Superheroes tracks the initial absence, reluctant inclusion, tokenistic employment, and then nuanced scripting of Islamic protagonists in the American superhero comic book market and beyond. More

Nov. 8 Shocking Election Night Party 

Election night was quite a surprise for MPV. At City Club Los Angeles, a club known for its emphasis on diversity and history of non-discrimination, members gathered to openly discuss their feelings about the state of union during this tumultuous election season. Suffice it to say many were glad to see it finally come to an end. Many were looking forward to a more progressive era under Hillary Clinton. But as the evening wore on and reality set in, members found themselves in a state of panic. The results simply did not align with what we felt America represented. And as the evening ended, one member asked what we would do. The response is simply this: we must speak. No matter how hard the road ahead, we must all continue to speak.

#AskAMuslim On Nov 13, MPV and the Markaz held our last chapter of the #AskAMuslim conversation series for 2016, which post-election became more relevant than ever. The panelists included David Stansfield, author of Islam vs ISIS, and Professor Kenyatta Bakeer-Allgood, childhood psychology specialist and Khateebah for the Women’s Mosque of America. Moderated by MPV’s Director of Communications, Crystal Keshawarz, the discussion was live-streamed on the internet, so members at home were able to tune-in. David provided a detailed list of reasons to substantiate Islam as a peaceful and progressive religion, and Kenyatta’s scholarly approach provided direct quotes from the Qur'an to refute claims that Islam promotes violence. Many in the audience were eager to participate in the discussion and a healthy Q&A ensued. A myriad of topics were dissected and unpacked, including homosexuality in Islam, women’s rights, child marriage, the rights of minorities, racial diversity, as well as practical steps community members could take to fight back against discrimination and bigotry.

Ask A Muslim is a production of MPV and The Markaz and is funded in part by the A & A Fund, and Bana & Nabil Hilal. The series has engendered similar programs in other parts of the world where MPV has chapters, including Australia.

On behalf of MPV, Ani Zonneveld attended the “ASEAN-UN Collaboration in Conflict Prevention, Preventive Diplomacy and Prevention of Violent Extremism”, 7-9 Nov. 2016. Jakarta 

UN Representative Omair Paul represented MPV at the 2016 Global Interfaith Network on Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression Conference (GIN-SSOGIE) in Bangkok, Thailand from November 22-25. He presented to the network methods and entry points by which to engage policy level processes at UNHQ in New York, and facilitated a training on the recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Check out the conference summary: Freedom of Religion and Belief and Sexuality.

While in South East Asia, Ani Zonneveld took the opportunity to meet with KMU in Kuala Lumpur for a full day of discussions on strategy and vision for the next two years.
Multicultural Nights On 5th Nov., MPV Malaysia was invited to join Multicultural Nights hosted by Malaysian Baha’i Community. The event was hosted in conjunction with Twin Hold Days Celebration, birth of the Báb and the birth of Bahá'u'lláh.

Meeting with Saeed MPV Malaysia was invited for a special dinner with the Australian High Commission in Malaysia with Prof Abdullah Saeed of University of Melbourne. He commended MPV Malaysia on human rights activism in the Islamic framework and Muslim society need to be empowered by quality education to counter extremist mindset.
Conference on Countering Violent Extremism MPV Malaysia was invited to a conference on Counter Violent Extremism with NGOs organized by Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. MPV Malaysia had voiced out an opinion whereby violence is derived from hate towards people who are different. Therefore, it should be tackled collectively at the root of the problem.
[The ‘Ask a Muslim’ Q&A panel at the Carlton Library in Melbourne]


Shiffa Samad represents MPV at a National Faith Forum on LGBTI rights.
We were very proud to support MPVer Shiffa Samad as she presented queer Muslims in Australia at the National Faith Forum in Canberra.

Qur'an Discussion Groups (Melbourne and Sydney): The Quran Discussion Groups continue to grow with enthusiasm. The QDG in Melbourne is now usually booked out weeks ahead of time with up to 10 members waiting on the waitlist (places are limited so if you’re interested register early!)

MPV Socials (Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney): We continue to have regular socials (usually fortnightly) across the country. The Melbourne socials have been held at the Carlton Middle Fish restaurant, and in Canberra they are held at the Griffith Centre. Sydney socials vary in location—check out the <eetup page to find out when the next social is.

Welcome to Annabelle Miller. MPV is excited to welcome our new Queensland state director Annabelle Miller. We are excited to see the growth of MPV in Australia and to support this new chapter.

Ask A Muslim in Melbourne & Canberra
#AskAMuslim Melbourne ran its first Ask a Muslim seminar series with great success. They were held in Fitzroy Library and Carlton Library. We had 20 attendees at the Carlton library event and the questions and engagement from the audience was enthusiastic. We look forward to holding more Ask a Muslim panel series discussions with the public. MPV Victoria State Director Zahirah won a grant to help fund promotional materials for this event.

Sexuality and Gender Diversity in Islam 
MPV Australia is also proud to announce that we have won a grant to run a series of confidential and private seminars for the LGBTQI Muslim community in Victoria. These seminars are aimed at fostering a support network among LGBTQI Muslims and engaging in issues that are pertinent to the challenges unique to them. In addition to the private seminars, MPV will run 3 public lectures on issues of sexuality and gender diversity in Islam.
Ways To Be Muslim campaign
MPV Australia is very proud to collaborate with Peter Drew in launching a new campaign titled “Ways to be Muslim”. This poster and media campaign aims to celebrate the diversity within Muslim communities and to engage both Muslims and non-Muslims in recognising the plurality within Islam. To support the project, MPV has also won a grant from the Victorian government that will be used to develop new media to drive online interest in our ‘Ways to be Muslim’ campaign.

The Human Library Project - The Hague
MPV’s director Fenna ten Berge was asked to participate in The Human Library Project - The Hague as ‘the hijabi’ among other books such as ‘the sex worker’ ‘the secular Jew’ and ‘the Syrian refugee’ to battle stereotypes associated with those terms. It was an incredibly well-attended event in which we celebrated the diversity of Dutch society.
Connecting in Society
MPV-Nederland attended the ministry ‘connection in our society’ to show how we as an Islamic organisation can promote inclusivity and diversity in a Dutch context: An Increasing Polarising and Islamophobic Society.
Panel discussion on LGBTQI Refugees
Fenna ten Berge spoke as a paneist on the topic of autonomy and Islam to an audience made up primarily of LGBTQI-refugees, many whom have fled their home-countries for their SOGIE, and other interested people. We highlighted the importance of researching and discovering Islam for oneself, and not to rely on authoritative, cultural interpretations of Islam that dehumanizes LGBTQI.
'Marriage equality will give hope': the faith leaders backing same-sex union
—in The Guardian
Watch Ani’s interview with progressive Evangelical Christian Doug Paggit on his podcast “Tick Talk Take”.
MPV's Commercial