November 2016
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: 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 early bird 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!

We are happy to publish the summary of the conference MPV co-organized with outgoing United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Please check out the Conference Summary: Freedom of Religion and Belief and Sexuality on our web site.

UPR SHADOW REPORTING: Muslims for Progressive Values and our sister organizations in Tunisia and The Netherlands filed shadow reports for their respective countries. Visit our MPV at the UN web page to read the full reports.
Quick links:

October's LA Magazine publishes "A World Without Muslims: A look into L.A.’s future in Trump’s anti-Muslim America" by Ani Zonneveld. Read
Upcoming Events

Join MPV-Atlanta each Friday at 1:30 pm for our Friday Gathering. Please email kelly@mpvatlanta.org
for more details!
MPV's infomercial!
November in Los Angeles

TUES NOV. 8—Election Night Party, 5-10 pm

Election Night Social: MPV hosts a watch party for the election results in downtown L.A., joined by a diverse group of progressive Muslims and non-Muslim allies from all religious, ethnic, and gender/sexual identities who will share their perspectives as we watch the election unfold in real time. Confirmed guests include Crystal Keshawarz, Director of Communications, Muslims for Progressive Values; Jordan Elgrably, director of The Markaz: Safa Samiezade-Yazd, Associate Producer, CNN's Believer with Reza Aslan; Keysha Baynes, Director of Programs & Partnerships, Art Active LA; Soraya Deen, Founder, Muslim Women Speakers Movement; Ayser Salman, writer & producer; Philippa Sklaar, author, When Loving Him Hurts, and The Affair.

Join us in the Aperture Lounge at City Club Los Angeles located on 555 Flower Street. Contact crystalk@mpvusa.org to RSVP.   

NOV 13Ask A Muslim: What Is True Islam?

Ask A Muslim, the monthly series organized Muslims for Progressive Values and The Markaz, presents an opportunity for an honest discussion about Islam. With hate crimes against Muslims on the rise, this panel asks, What is true Islam? Who practices true Islam? Where do the extremists find the basis for their beliefs, and how have groups like ISIS perverted a long and steady religious tradition? How do we combat the atmosphere of violence and hate that has befallen our Muslim compatriots? CLICK HERE for details.

Progressive News


In collaboration with Local Progress, Muslims for Progressive Values delivered testimony to the Mayor and City Council of West Hollywood on Oct. 17th, 2016, for the introduction and passing of resolutions condemning hate and violence towards Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim.

With hate crimes against Muslims reported to have increased by 122% in Los Angeles, this resolution reaffirms that elected representatives have a responsibility to speak out against hate, violence and discrimination against their constituents and all Americans. Beatrice Greenberg of Local Progress stressed that passing this resolution meant that elected representatives are committing to pursue policy agendas that affirm civil and human rights and are reaffirming the inalienable right of every person to live and practice their faith without fear. MPV’s Director of Communications, Crystal Keshawarz, also delivered a compelling argument in the City Council Chambers, asserting that statements by political leaders result in distinct changes in hate crime incidents. She concluded by declaring, “This level of hate has no place in America, no place in California, no place in Los Angeles, and it most definitely has no place in West Hollywood.” The resolution was passed by a unanimous vote.

MPV would like to thank Soraya Deen and Philippa Sklaar for their support, attendance, and contribution of their own testimonies.

See Local Progress’s open letter to fight Islamophobia signed by over 530 locally elected officials all over the United States here.
MPV Communities
On Oct. 30th, 2016 MPV Malaysia’s Director, Aizat, moderated “Debating Turkey’s Future,” an event held by IDEAS Malaysia in collaboration with Istanbul Network. The recent events following Turkey’s failed coup d'état signifies the Turkish military’s waning influence in the public sphere. In the past, the secular military had played a significant role in the Turkish republic. In 2007, they had the highest levels of public trust, more than any other national institution at the time. Yet this has been greatly diminished under the Erdogan administration, which many critics argue has become increasingly authoritarian. With the question for the future of freedom and democracy in Turkey ever-present, the conversation about Turkey will continue.

On Oct. 23rd, 2016,  in collaboration with North South Initiative (NSI) and Path of Peace, MPV Malaysia held a discussion on "Meditations Across Different Faiths." We shared the practice of dzikr and prayer from an Islamic perspective, noting similarities between the salah and Yoga (which means ‘attachment to God.’) Another member of the discussion group discussed meditation from a Hindu perspective. We looked at the differences between prayer and meditation and the objective of meditation. We were also shown different items and methods used during meditation including songs, chants, mantras, rosaries, and the singing bowl.

Women’s Sharia Council—MPV Nederland is currently looking for candidates to set up a Women’s Sharia Council in The Netherlands, comparable to the UK model. The creation of the council is a necessity. Too many Muslim women in the Netherlands receive unequal treatment by male-dominated sharia councils. If interested, please contact MPV Nederland through Facebook (Muslims for Progressive Values Nederland) or by e-mail (info@mpvnederland.org).


November 3rd—MPV Nederland will be present at the annual meeting of Dutch gender platform WO=MEN.

November 10th—MPV Nederland will be participating in a panel discussion organized by Prisma Groep, a group for bicultural and/or Islamic LGBT’s in Utrecht, and LGBTQI refugees.
Bring Everyone In—On Sept. 7th, 2016, MPV-Nederland gave a workshop to members of IGLYO, a European network of LGBTQ-youth and European Council representatives on the intersection of religion and ethnicity, a delicate subject prone to prejudices and assumptions.


On Sept.29th, 2016, MPV Nederland gave a lecture to students for the Rotterdam Erasmus University at the Essalam Mosque in Rotterdam, one of the biggest mosques in The Netherlands. The theme of the lecture was Islam in Western society, with a focus on the congruence of women’s rights and homosexuality.

In October of 2016 MPV Founder and President, Ani Zonneveld traveled to South Africa for AIR, the Annual International Retreat. This annual event consists of workshops, seminars and creative spaces that addresses issues within Islam and sexual diversity. The conference was comprised of three main components: The International Peace Circle, The International Youth Program, and the Conference for the Empowerment of Women. The International Peace Circle is a space for Queer Muslims who want to reconcile Islam with their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Ani participated as a religious leader and strategized on how religious leaders and theologians can collaborate to advance LGBT rights. Many religious leaders from around the world convened to find practical solutions to matters of inequitable rights within Islam for LGBT, women, and youth globally. Ani was able to share MPV’s resources and provide a basis for a strategy that would counter fatwas on the religious rights of LGBT Muslims including matters of inheritance, funeral rites, and marriage rights. She also advised that it is necessary to make educational resources and infographics accessible to a global audience in countering dominant homophobic narratives.

MPV-Atlanta and HRC-Atlanta co-hosted Coming Out Muslim—a performance featuring Wazina Zondon and Terna telling stories of being at the intersection of Islam and being queer. This was hosted on the campus of Clark Atlanta at the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center.

Amina Abdul-Jalil of MPV-Atlanta gave a keynote speech at Augusta University, co-sponsored by Lambda Alliance and the Office of Diversity Inclusion, speaking about intersectional identities. The talk is in two parts, intro and main speech.
MPV-Australia receives funding from the State government of Victoria. Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said “...to ensure Victorians live free from discrimination, no matter their background.” Victoria Multicultural Grants - Star Observer

MALAYSIA "Otherness in the Muslim World". MPV Malaysia’s Director, Aizat Shah, writes his opinion in The Malay Mail about how the arrest of Shiite Muslims by authorities has restricted freedom of religion and expression. Read.

Queer Muslims Find Solace and Solidarity at South Africa Retreat. Read here.

West Hollywood City Council Condemns Bigotry Against Muslims. Read.