Keeping commitments

It’s International Women’s Day today, a day when we celebrate all that women have achieved throughout history. It strikes me that this day has special significance this year, as we honor the great social change that women have brought about with movements such as #TimesUp and #MeToo. I am certain that these movements are revolutionary; they are built on the courage and resilience of women around the world who are determined to ensure that we’re not going back.

The spirit of these women compels me to see today not as a memorial but as a commitment. We’re not going back. The future is ahead of us — only progress takes us forward. The best way to celebrate the achievements of women is to honor their commitment to peace, equality, and justice. That’s my earnest hope for all of us, and that’s what we try to do at MPV.

With two months out of 2018 in the books, I’m delighted to inform that MPV has kept its new year’s resolution to be a voice for human rights and progressive values. On February 25, we did that in a special way, during our third annual Celebration of Life fundraiser gala. At the heart of this event, some of our celebrity guests and friends performed original monologues that gave voice to five Muslim activists who were either killed or silenced for their work. This great event would not have been possible without generous contributions from, our sponsors CBS Studios and NFL LA Chargers, our many donors, and presenters Emiliana Greureca, Amin el-Gamal, Zohreen Adamjee, and Badshah Khan Beacon of Truth award winner Kevin Jennings. I’d like to thank them, once again, for their generosity. I also must thank Mr. Hasan Piker for agreeing to raffle himself off for the event, and to raffle winner Brooke from Florida.Working with these wonderful people once again shows that there is only one way to speak up against tyranny and injustice--together.
“Together” will be an important theme this month, as MPV shifts its attention to the United Nations for the 62nd meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, or CSW. For those who are unfamiliar with UN jargon, the CSW is a commission that has been dedicated exclusively to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment since 1946. The two-week meeting of the CSW is typically a bustling time at the UN, with many events, sponsored by member States and NGOs, focusing on the commission’s annual theme.
This year’s theme, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls,” is of special significance to MPV--it relates to all our work in empowering rural women worldwide through our #ImamsForShe initiative. This year, with the support of UN Women, we will be able to host an exciting panel entitled “#ImamsForShe: Engaging Imams for Sustainable Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women and Girls.” The panel, which will take place on March 19, will feature speakers from UN Women, MenEngage Alliance, the Association for Women's Rights in Development, UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights and MPV advisory board member Karima Bennoune, Imam Khalfan, who oversees #ImamsForShe in Burundi, and Anesie Ngirimana (via video), a youth participant from our #ImamsForShe summer camps in Burundi.
At the end of March, I will be back in Tunisia as we convene human rights and Islamic scholar experts in one room in finalizing our Values Based Toolkit in Arabic targeting youth. The Toolkit incorporates human rights affirming religious language, in correlation to Tunisian law, and is intended for use by trainers, religious leaders, and human rights advocates. We intend for this to be the first step toward making human rights standard for all peoples in the Muslim world.
Onward and upward...

Ani Zonneveld

  • President's Letter
  • Featured Book​​​​​​​
  • Upcoming Events
  • Chapter Updates
  • MPV In the News

The progressive Muslim voice for human rights and social justice. Thanks for your charitable donation!
Featured Book 
Islam is Good: Muslims Should Follow it 
by Sanjiv Bhatla (Author)

It takes a non-Muslim to write an honest reading of the Quran, void of biases. From a review:
Based on intensive research, one core message that this book conveys is that one needs to make a clear distinction between Islam, on the one hand, and Muslims, on the other. Bhatla highlights many of the virtues of Islam, such as compassion, kindness, the dignity of women, and social equality, and at the same time, critiques Muslims for not practising these as they should, and for grossly misinterpreting the teachings of their faith. He provides readers with many precious nuggets of wisdom, from the Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad, that serve as valuable eye-openers.

In the context of the contrast between Islamic teachings, on the one hand, and Muslim practice, on the other, Bhatla has a useful suggestion for Muslims to consider. He suggests that when faced with an issue, Muslims must deeply reflect on what the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) would have done in the situation they are faced with, if he were with us at this moment. “Along with the guidance of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah, today’s Islamic jurists should ask this question to themselves while dealing with a case in hand”, he writes. “If they can evoke the Prophet’s spirit of kindness and fair play, their judgments would match with the best in the world.”

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

Upcoming Events 
CSW62 March 19th, 6:15 pm at UN Church Center MPV will be hosting a panel titled: “#ImamsForShe: Engaging Imams for Sustainable Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women and Girls” with panelists:

  • Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights
  • Lopa Banerjee, Director, Civil Society Division - UN Women
  • Imam Bukuru Elie Khalfan, Alliance des Imams du Corridors Nord Pour Le Developpement Humanitaire (AICNDH)
  • Naureen Shameem, Human Rights Program Coordinator, Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)
  • Bilquis Tahira, Executive Director, Shirakat, Partnership for Development; National Coordinator, MenEngage Alliance Pakistan
  • Anesie Ngirimana, Youth Participant, 2017 #ImamsForShe Workshop in Burundi, Video Presentation
  • Moderator: Ani Zonneveld, President, Muslims for Progressive Values

April 18-21:
MPV’s president Ani Zonneveld will be a subject of interrogation at the Tribeca Film Festival in a virtual reality project entitled Terminal 3 (World Premiere) – USA, Pakistan
Project Creator: Asad J. Malik
Key Collaborators: Kaleidoscope VR, Anita Gou, RYOT, Philipp Schaeffer, Viva Wittman, Jack Daniel Gerrard, Musa Ghaznavi
Cast: Aisha Yousaf, Ahmad Cory Jubran, Fereydoun Vakhshoury, Ani Zonneveld, Helya Salarvand

Chapter Updates

MPV-Los Angeles

On Thursday, March 22, MPV-LA will be hosting a special dinner with Imam Khafan, President of the Alliance des Imams du Corridors Nord Pour Le Developpment, and a key player in MPV’s implementation of #ImamsForShe in Burundi. You will not want to miss this special opportunity to learn more about the work and experiences of Muslim human rights activists in Africa. Details for this event will posted on our MPV-LA calendar.


MPV-DC continues to hold bi-weekly prayer at the Emergence Community Arts Collective. In addition to the prayers, on March 11, MPV-DC members will be celebrating Nowruz at the Freer and Sackler Galleries. On March 15, members will attend the Rumi concert at the Washington National Cathedral. And on March 25, we will be holding another movie night, screening The Sultan and the Saint. Check out the MPV-DC calendar here.


MPV-Chicago is working to provide regular Friday prayers within the Loop area in the near future. We are also working on scheduling our next gathering during March soon. For updates, look us up at on Facebook. If you have any questions or would like to join our email list, contact Sarah Haque at

MPV-S.F./Bay Area
MPV S.F. hosted evening Jum’a services at Martin De Porres House of Hospitality located in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco on February 2. Philip Tulley gave an inspiring sermon about the need for love and inclusion in the Ummah and Sabahat “Sab” Ashraf led congregants in prayer. In addition to leading prayers, Sab explained the significance behind each posture in prayer to those in attendance who were unfamiliar with Muslim salat. The event was well-attended and was followed by a comunal evening meal.

On March 18, MPV S.F., will be coordinating a “Meet A Muslim” event at St. John’s Presbyterian Church located in San Francisco. This event will allow St. John’s congregation to meet and ask questions of progressive Muslims and learn more about Islam and it’s pluralistic and progressive origins.
MPV-NY will be hosting a meet and greet with its new chapter board members on March 30, 2018. This will be an excellent opportunity for new & current chapter members to share any ideas on events for the chapter to consider. If time permits, Q&A discussion for chapter board members will follow. Stay tuned for further time & location information on MPV NY’s Facebook group page.

Work visit Liberal-Islamischer Bund and Ibn Goethe mosque

As a member organization of the Alliance of Inclusive Muslims (AIM), Fenna ten Berge of MPV Nederland and Aizat Shamsuddin, Chair of AIM, visited Liberal Muslims Germany (LIB) in Berlin to build on the relationship and to plan initiatives under the AIM umbrella that will address issues of religious minorities in Europe, such as xenophobia and escalating anti-Muslim hatred.
Looking for a social media volunteer!

MPV Nederland is expanding and in need of a social media volunteer who helps develop online and print content, social media posts, and web content, and is available for 8 hours a month.
Please email for more information.

Conference: Grassroots engagement in fighting jihadist radicalisation

On Tuesday 20 February 2018, the European Policy Centre, in partnership with the European Foundation for Democracy, hosted a Policy Dialogue on “grassroots engagement in fighting jihadist radicalisation”. The event focussed on the experience, views and advice of experts working on the grassroots level. The speakers were Cherif El Farri of  CEAPIRE and Fenna ten Berge of MPV Nederland, highlighting her work:"We fight against misogynistic and patriarchal ideas within #Islamist communities
MPV in the News

An interview at Anthena Film Festival with the director of “al-imam” Omar Al Dakheel:
Q: Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
A: Thank you! Well, as someone who grew up practicing Muslim in the Middle-East I've never seen a female imam before. So, when I did see a woman on TV who runs an organization called “Muslim for Progressive Values” and leads co-ed prayers and officiates interfaith marriages, I was fascinated and curious to know more. So, that’s when I approached Ani, the female imam to tell her story.