The Oldest Progressive Muslim Organization in America
 
 
        
 
 
Cultivating a Culture of Human Rights

I have just returned from attending two conferences.

The first was at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality, at which I moderated a panel titled: “Breaking into politics 2: Local communities supporting women candidates; alternative means of support.” My takeaway is the greater awareness of the utilization of religious language toward affirming gender equality and, most surprisingly, in Arab countries, which I have found to be most resistant and hostile to such a utility, a hostility vehemently expressed in the closing forum. The official outcome is a set of recommendations filtered up from the panels which were rich and enlightening. It is one of the best, heartening and intellectually stimulating conference I’ve attended in a while. You may read the recommendations here.

The second conference was in Copenhagen at PaRD or International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development. I contributed to a fireside conversation, sharing personal and professional experiences. It was interesting to hear how it was the personal that piqued my colleagues in human rights, stories they never heard from me before. In an Open Forum, my presentation was: #ImamsForShe - Changing Culture and Law, laying out how MPV changes the hearts and minds, one person at a time, toward a permanent cultural shift of inclusivity and universal values, values that contributes to peace, security, and development.

Equality for women and girls can only be achieved when a society’s values reflect those of equality and human rights. Culture is heavily influenced by religion, even in intensely secular countries like France, and Denmark. If you know someone from France, ask him or her, why schools do not serve meat for lunch on Fridays.

A culture rooted in justice and human rights is the only way to achieve the SDGs as a permanent outcome, and it takes one generation to change culture. At MPV, we helped influence culture change of American Muslims from traditional to progressive/liberal in 12 years. It can therefore be done elsewhere. All over the world we see evidence of a growing number of progressive Muslims, much of which is reflected in the plethora of Facebook groups aspousing progressive values, and most importantly critical thinking. That is a positive indication of things to come in Muslim societies despite being under the weight of uber patriarchy and well funded hate preaching mullahs.    

Cultivating a culture of equality and human rights is the foundation for a just world. It starts with the individual, after all, an individual makes up a family, community, society, who elects representatives, members of his/her government, who legislates the laws of the land.

2030 is just 11 years ago. It will be a decade of hope and hard work.

Onward and upward….






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



 
 
 
 
 
The progressive Muslim voice for human rights and social justice. Thanks for your charitable donation!
 
 
 
 
 
U.N. Update 

Freedom of Religion or Belief Event at Human Rights Council

Jun​​​​​​​e 24: As an annual tradition, the Kingdom of The Netherlands Mission in Geneva and MPV will continue to organize a joint Freedom of Religion or Belief event at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. This year’s high-level side event is titled: “Promoting a Universal (or Normative) Understanding of Freedom of Religion and Belief: Maximizing Synergies and Increasing Religious Literacy at the UN.” Joining us is Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed. Panelists, room number and time to be determined.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter Updates 


MPV-LA

May 9: MPV friend and community partner, Rev. Denyse Barnes from Hollywood United Methodist Church, is starting an Interfaith LGBT+ Youth Group (ages 12-24) at the LGBT center in September. The group will meet on the 2nd Thursday of every month from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. It is a free, safe space. If you are within this age range, identify as LGBT+ or know of anyone that does and would benefit from this -- please do join them! For more questions, please contact Rev. Denyse Barnes at revdenyse@hollywoodumc.org, 323-874-2104 x203

May 11: MPV-LA will host our first iftar at Jim and Erica’s home. For this iftar, the food catering will be under-written by a generous friend, Anwar! We have an Afghani refugee catering for the dinner, a service provided for by Tiyya Foundation. To RSVP, please visit MPV-LA’s meetup page here.

May 13: MPV-LA and JQ International will be co-hosting a kosher and halal iftar. JQ International is a Jewish LGBTQ+ organization and together we will be addressing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in America and globally and within our respective communities. Please RSVP here.

May 18: Ani Zonneveld will be hosting iftar at her home. To RSVP, please do so here or email info@mpvusa.org.

MPV-NY

On April 26, MPV-NY hosted a Friday Jum’a Prayer and had thought-provoking discussion on navigating queerness and gender as American Muslims domestically and abroad. MPV-NY community members gathered to pray Maghrib together and created a space for participants to share feelings in a judgement free space.

May 9: MPV-NY is co-hosting “In the Footsteps of Prophets: Refugees & the Spiritual Journey,” an iftar and interfaith panel discussion. The focus is on the refugee crisis, looking at the roles of impacted communities as helpers and allies. To RSVP, please email Adam by May 7. For further details, check out the Facebook event page.

May 10: MPV-NY is co-hosting “Standing Together: An Interfaith Iftar and Discussion” with Riverside Church Young Adult community. There will be brief film viewing, prayer, 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. Space is limited! To RSVP, please contact Bee Diaz directly. Stay tune to further detail on MPV-NY event page.

May 14: MPV-NY is co-hosting “Sadhana Satsangh for Hindu-Muslim Unity” iftar with Sadhana:Coalition of Progressive Hindus and Women for Afghan Women. This Satsangh brings communities of both faiths together during the holy month of Ramadan and is devoted to Hindu-Muslim unity and an end to all religious violence and extremism. Please RSVP on the Facebook event page.

May 17: MPV-NY will be hosting its annual Community Potluck iftar. A joyous time for community members to attend Friday Jum’a Prayers and break fast over a shared Iftar meal. To participate and get more information, please stay tune to sign up options and further detail through MPV-NY event page or MPV-NY Meetup.

May 20: MPV-NY is co-sponsoring an iftar dinner during the holy month of Ramadan, hosted at The Center in partnership with organizations serving the LGBTQ Muslim community. The evening is meant to create a safe space for all community members, while also celebrating unity within LGBTQ communities of faith. To RSVP, please click here (registration opens on Monday, May 6 at 10 a.m.) Stay tuned for further details through MPV-NY event page or MPV-NY Meetup.

MPV-DC

On April 28, MPV-DC hosted a film screening at the Cleveland Park Public Library. This month’s film was "Cities of Light: the Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain." MPV-DC has several events planned for May in recognition of the month of Ramadan.

May 5: MPV-DC is hosting its next film screening at the Cleveland Park Public Library. Next month’s film will be "Suleiman the Magnificent."

May 17: MPV-DC is hosting a suhoor midnight breakfast at Kramerbooks & Afterwords restaurant.

May 31: MPV-DC is co-hosting its annual iftar dinner with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The event will be keynoted by Khizr Khan, Kazi Mannan, and Ani Zonneveld. To RSVP, visit MPV-DC Iftar.

MPV-Boston 

During the month of April, MPV-Boston co-presented for the largest LGBTQA*  film festival, Wicked Queer Fillm Festival. While opening for ‘Bird of Borderland’ and ‘Muslims queer shorts’ MPV-Boston proudly co-sponsored by spreading awareness of LGBTQA+ community in the greater boston area. A large number of attendees took solidarity photos with a strong message of “Allah made every color of the rainbow” and “Allah loves equality,” to punctuate MPV-Boston's inclusiveness for supporting a platform for these incredible films on grassroot level. MPV-Boston was honored to show six “Muslim queer shorts” that focus on intersectionality oriented stories with a harsh reality in transitionalist communities, and elaborated the diversity of queer family inclusion in some Muslim household due to progressive movements.

On April 14, MPV-Boston organized an open discussion event, Salaam Shalom, to discuss islamophobia in Jewish communities and anti-semitism in Muslim communities, with two conflict resolution facilitators to discuss the ongoing challenging in making our communities inclusive. This event was conducted in a safe space to allow voices from both communities to be heard without a fear. Most progressive Jewish communities were welcomed at this space to elaborate on the spectrum of challenges they face. In all, it was a great start to being able to discuss these issues helped community to bridge gaps with our Jewish friends in the area in a peaceful and effective way.

MPV-Atlanta

May 17-19: MPV-Atlanta will host its annual Ramadan Retreat in North Georgia. Come join us for a relaxing weekend in community. Contact kelly@mpvatlanta.org to attend or RSVP through Meetup.

Fridays: MPV-Atlanta meets for Jum'a at the Phillip Rush Center:
1530 Dekalb Ave NE,
Atlanta, GA 30307