March Madness

This month was March madness. No, I’m not talking about college basketball (it’s an American thing); MPV was working harder than ever this month to promote human rights and progressive values in the world.

Our month of productivity complemented a busy time at the United Nations HQ, which was hosting the 62nd meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). During this two-week marathon of meetings and events, MPV’s team met in NY to plan and strategize for its work in 2018. I won’t give anything away, except to say, we have set a very high bar for ourselves.  

I also got to show Imam Bukuru Elie Khalfan, an MPV partner and #ImamsForShe champion around NY and LA this month, as he had flown in from Burundi to present on his work in empowering women and girls at MPV’s event during CSW and to MPV-LA.
Shortly after Imam Khalfan’s visit, I flew to Tunisia, where I just completed a convening of a very diverse group of Tunisians, who received advanced leadership training in a sort of “beta test” of MPV’s new and revolutionary values-based toolkit (I told you we had good things in store for 2018!). This toolkit will be the golden bridge between the UN’s human rights language and Islam’s language of faith and rights..
If you are in New York April 19th through 21st, check out Terminal 3 at the Tribeca Film Festival, an interactive, augmented-reality documentary that explores contemporary Muslim identities in the U.S. through the lens of an airport interrogation. I have been hologramed for this project, and you may  learn a few things about me you didn’t know!

Onward and upward...

Ani Zonneveld

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

The progressive Muslim voice for human rights and social justice. Thanks for your charitable donation!
Featured Book 
Al-Musshaf wa Qira'atuh

by Abdel Majeed Charfi (Author)

"We need to stop taking the Koran literally," Charfi warns. The consequences of this new way of reading the holy book are huge: "There is a subversive, prophetic message in the Koran. But in Islam there is also an institutionalised religion that creates dogma, rituals and sects." Muslims today, then, should "Get back to the sources: there is nothing greater than God."

To take an example: in sura 61:6 of the canonical Koran, it says that Jesus declared a prophet named Ahmed would come after him. For Muslims, this is Muhammad, Godʹs last prophet. But in Charfiʹs edition there is a variation that doesnʹt contain a name. Charfiʹs edition was banned in Saudi Arabia immediately after publication. In Tunisia, the edition is now sold out.

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 

On April 19th, 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

UN Updates

The Commission on the Status of Women

MPV’s UN team made a statement at UN headquarters in New York during this year’s meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Amid a busy two week of events centering on this year’s theme, “Empowering Rural Women and Girls,” MPV hosted a star-studded side event entitled “#ImamsForShe: Engaging Imams for Sustainable Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women and Girls.” The event’s theme explored and explained the relationships between faith narratives and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, including challenges and best practices.

MPV’s Ani Zonneveld moderated an all-star panel, featuring Lopa Banerjee, Chief of UN Women’s Civil Society Division; Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights; Naureen Shameem, Human Rights Program Coordinator for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID); Bilquis Tahira, national director of Sharika - Partnerships for Development and National Director for MenEngage, Pakistan; Imam Bukuru Elie Khalfan, MPV Partner, #ImamsForShe Champion, and President of the Alliance des Imams du Coridor Nord pour le Développement Humanitaire; and a video presentation from Anesie Ngirimana, a youth participant in our #ImamsForShe workshop in Burundi.

After an illuminatinng discussion on the role of faith-based actors in promoting human rights, Imam Khalfan gave a strong presentation about the ways in which Islam’s portrayal of women has been incorrectly conveyed and is being redeemed through progressive Islam. The highlight of the evening, however, was a pre-recorded testimonial from Anesie Ngirimana, a participant in one of our #ImamsForShe camps, about the way our educational programming helped her to understand her rights and value as a person.

Universal Periodic Review — Saudi Arabia 

On March 29, MPV’s UN team submitted a stakeholder report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The UPR, for those unfamiliar with UN-ese, is a process in which UN member-states undergo quatriennual reviews of their human rights performance. MPV’s report, which was co-authored by the Alliance of Inclusive Muslims (AIM), focused on Saudi Arabian suppression of the freedom of expression, highlighting the cases of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair, and called for legal reform in which the Saudi Kingdom adopted international human rights frameworks. You may find the report here.

Chapter Updates


On March 24, 2018 MPV-LA marched alongside California Senator Kamala Harris in the March For Our Lives rally. The student-led demonstrations were held in cities across the nation and around the world in response to the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States, with a call for stricter gun control regulation.

On March 22nd, Imam Khalfan, MPV Partner and #ImamsForShe Champion, held a discussion at Silver Lake Library regarding his women’s rights work in Burundi. Khalfan explained the #ImamsForShe girls’ sports camps and the challenges he faces as a religious leader advocating for equality in a conservative society. A question and answer session followed the presentation and new MPV friends were made!

While visiting LA, Khafan was excited to see the Hollywood Sign “from the movies” in person, but was also shocked to see that “homelessness could exist even in America,” as we drove through Downtown LA.

MPV-LA will be hosting our first Iftar potluck of the year on Saturday, May 19th at 7:30 pm. Please RSVP here if you would like to attend—the address will only be emailed to those who have RSVP’d yes and have clear profiles. We are looking for homes and/or hosts for 3 additional Iftars on Saturday evenings during Ramadan. Please email if you are interested in hosting!

MPV-S.F./Bay Area
On March 18th, local MPV members Caman Nareau, Sabahat Ashraf, Philip Tulley and Naji Ali attended a “Meet a Muslim” interfaith gathering at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. Those in attendance spoke about why they have faith and how it sustains them. John Anderson, co-Pastor of St. John’s, encouraged his congregation to form a more intimate relationship with MPV-S.F.

After a successful evening Jumm’a in February, another is currently being planned for April, insha’allah a regular monthly Jumm’a will be planned in various cities of the Bay Area.

MPV S.F./Bay Area is looking to attend a monthly interfaith meeting of Churches, Synagogues, Buddhist sanghas and other faith groups to work with refugees who have recently relocated to the area.

MPV-DC continues to hold bi-weekly prayer at the Emergence Community Arts Collective.  In addition to the prayers, on March 11th, MPV-DC members celebrated Nowruz at the Freer and Sackler Galleries. On March 15th, members attended the Rumi concert at the Washington National Cathedral.  Several members of MPV-DC participated in the March for Our Lives rally on March 24th.

MPV-Chicago will be holding Friday prayers at 333 W. Wacker Drive, in the Loop area. Please RSVP by emailing
We will also be preparing meals for the homeless with Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church (4511 N. Hermitage Ave.) at 10 am on April 25th. Please RSVP by emailing
MPV in the News

Why a lawyer sued two towns that denied mosques...