Muslims for Progressive Values

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Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) was founded and incorporated by Ani Zonneveld August 2007, headquartered in Los Angeles and with a regional office in Malaysia. It is a faith-based human rights organization with networks in Bangladesh, Canada, France, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, and throughout the U.S. MPV provides educational and theological resources for Muslims with a liberal or progressive Islamic worldview. In response to global discourse of Islamophobia and the radicalization of Islam, MPV seeks to dismiss false ideologies about Muslims and Islam. Through their global advocacy and community programs MPV enlighten Muslims and non-Muslim populations globally.

At the core of MPV’s work is to stimulate critical thinking of sacred texts and to promote the implementation of progressive values, such as human rights, gender equality, which are all deeply rooted in both Islamic and democratic principles

In December 2013, United Nations recognized Muslims for Progressive Values as an official non-government organization (NGO) association member.[1] The NGO/DPI Executive Committee represents 1,500 NGO organizations with monthly meetings.[2] MPV’s consultative status enable its advocacy to go global by challenging human rights abuses in the name of Sharia law of Muslim-majority countries at the United Nations and at the Human Rights Council on issues of women's rights, LGBTQ rights, Freedom of Expression and Freedom of and from Religion and Belief.[3]

MPV has a board of advisors including scholars and activists such as: Reza Aslan, Amir Hussein, Karima Bennoune, Daayiee Abdullah, Zainah Anwar, Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, and El-Farouk Khaki.[4]

Goal and vision[edit]

Muslims for Progressive Values’ (MPV) mission is to embody and be an effective voice of the traditional Qur'anic ideals of human dignity, egalitarianism, compassion and social justice. Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) envisions Islam and an Islamic community that embodies the ten principles of MPV. Further, MPV envisions a future where Islam is understood as a source of dignity, justice, compassion and love for all humanity and the world.[5]

Guiding principles[edit]

MPV is guided by the below listed ten principles which are in Islam.[6][7]

Principle Description
Collective Identity MPV identifies anyone as Muslim who identifies as such.The organization strongly believes that the veracity and integrity of that claim is between the individual and God, and is not a matter for the state nor an issue which other individuals can or should judge. MPV welcomes all who are interested in discussing, promoting and working for the implementation of progressive values – human rights, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state, as well as inclusive and tolerant understandings of Islam.
Equality MPV affirms the equal worth of all human beings, regardless of race, sex, gender, gender identification, ethnicity, nationality, creed, sexual orientation, or ability. The organization is committed to work toward global societies that ensure social, political, educational, and economic opportunities for all.
Separation of Religious and State Authorities MPV believes that freedom of conscience is not only essential to all human societies but integral to the Qur'anic view of humanity.They believe that secular government is the only way to achieve the Islamic ideal of freedom from compulsion in matters of faith.

MPV upholds the Qur'anic mandate "let there be no compulsion in religion" (Q:2:256), that freedom of conscience is not only essential to all human societies, but integral to the Qur'anic view of humanity.

Freedom of Speech MPV advocates for freedom of expression and freedom of dissent. No one should be legally prosecuted, imprisoned or detained for declaring or promoting unpopular opinions whether, political, artistic, social or religious, even when that expression may be offensive or that dissent may be considered blasphemous.
Universal Human Right MPV is committed to social, economic and environmental justice. They believe that full self-realization of all people, in a safe sustainable world, is a prerequisite for freedom, civility, and peace. MPV supports efforts for universal health care, universal public education, the protection of our environment, and the eradication of poverty.
Gender Equality MPV supports women’s agency and self-determination in every aspect of their lives. They believe in women’s full participation in society at every level. They are committed to reproductive justice and empowering women to make health decisions regarding their bodies, sexuality and reproduction.

MPV is strongly against the oppression of women, particularly in the name of Islam. They believe that women should be in complete control of her thought, expression and sexuality rather than the current gradient from silencing a woman’s voice to complete control of thought, of expression, of sexuality. MPV condemns violations of women’s rights carried out in the name of Islam as baseless, such as female genital mutilation and cutting, forced marriages, acid attacks, honour killings, and others.

LGBT Inclusion MPV endorses the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals. The organization is committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and supports full equality and inclusion of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in society and in the Muslim community.[8]

MPV believes in an inclusive community and we endorse the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTQI) individuals. They affirm their commitment to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and they support full equality and inclusion of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in society and in the Muslim community. MPV stands firmly against laws in Muslim-majority countries that criminalize homosexuality.

Ijtihad (Critical Analysis and Interpretation) MPV promotes interpretations that reflect traditional Qur'anic principles of tolerance, inclusiveness, mercy, compassion, and fairness. They call for critical engagement with Islamic scripture, traditional jurisprudence, and current Muslim discourses.

MPV seeks to create of specific progressive ijtihad content targeted to youth. Their content is distributed via social media, forums, lectures, YouTube, music, arts festivals and other communication vehicles utilized by youth, thus by-passing established religious and political institutions. Through engagement and collaboration with Islamic scholars MPV circulates sound progressive Qur'anic ijtihad based on traditional Qur'anic texts.

Compassion MPV endorses that justice and compassion should be the guiding principles for all aspects of human conduct. The organization strongly repudiate violence, whether on an individual, organization, or national level.
Diversity MPV embraces pluralism and the diversity of inspirations that motivate people to embrace justice. They engage with a diversity of philosophical and spiritual traditions to pursue a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.

MPV advocates for an inclusive Muslim community, accepting of freedom of expression and a diversity of philosophical and spiritual traditions, while promoting universal human rights.

Community-level programming[edit]

MPV carries out grassroots activities through its local chapters in the US, namely in Atlanta, Columbus, Washington DC, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and in Australia, Canada, Chile, France and Malaysia. These activities promote the mission and values of MPV at the local level. Their activities fall under the following categories: Arts, Faith-Based Initiatives, Social Justice, and Educational Campaigns.[4]

MPV Unity Mosques[edit]

MPV Chapters offer progressive and inclusive prayer spaces in the US and Canada. All members of the community, men, women, and LGBTQ members take turn leading prayers, giving sermon and doing the call of prayer [adhan]. MPV mosques are 100% funded by members of the community.[9]

  • Located at 5998 W Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035-2657 and members can also attend virtually. The adhan, prayer and khutbah may be led by a man or a woman, and the congregants participate together. Individual men and women can choose to stand/sit one side or the other if they prefer.

#ImamsForShe initiative[edit]

MPV launched a global initiative in March 2015 to address misogynist interpretations of Islamic scripture and traditions that have led to human rights violations carried out in the name of Islam against women and girls and the sub-human status of women and girls across Muslim-majority countries and within Muslim communities in the West. The initiative’s purpose is to support and provide solidarity for Imams, Muslim lay leaders and Islamic scholars who actively advocate for women's rights, for empowerment and gender equality and debunk misogyny in the name of Islam.

MPV nikah/officiant services[edit]

MPV provides nikah/officiant services for all, including same-sex and interfaith couples.

MPV khutbahs[edit]

MPV provides khutbahs (sermons). They have an open format for sermons (khutbahs). Their sermons can be provided by anyone either in written format or in person.

Educational campaigns[edit]

MPV creates of specific progressive ijtihad content targeted to youth. Their content is distributed via social media, forums, lectures, YouTube, podcasts, music, arts festivals and other communication vehicles utilized by youth. The organization shares educational materials and raises awareness through conferences, universities and seminars.

Social justice[edit]

MPV’s participates in social justice movements and events such as International Women’s Day, Human Rights Day and Pride celebrations. MVP actively builds alliances and partnerships US-based organizations, such as Sauti Yetu and other organizations, on the domestic issues of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, child/forced marriages, and women’s reproductive rights.

MPV actively advocates for key changes on issues of gender equality, LGBTQI rights, freedom of expression and freedom of and from belief within American Muslim communities.

Faith-based initiatives[edit]

MPV supports the Unity Mosques in their religious activities, such as Eid prayer services, Qur'an studies.

MPV conducts marriages, including interfaith and same-sex Islamic marriages.

MPV engages and collaborates with Islamic scholars in disseminating sound progressive Qur'anic ijtihad based on traditional Qur'anic texts.

Arts[edit]

MPV creates specific progressive ijtihad content targeted to youth. This content is distributed via social media, forums, lectures, YouTube, music, arts festivals and other communication vehicles utilized by youth, thus by-passing established religious and political institutions.

MPV sponsors and host lecture series, faith/interfaith-based services, arts, music and theater events that promote inclusive expressions of Islam.

MPV develops comprehensive media and public relations campaigns that includes strategic use of press releases, social media, earned media, and cultural expressions.

Global advocacy programming[edit]

On a global level, MPV carries out activities geared at advocating against human rights abuses carried out in the name of Islam in Muslim-majority states. the organization particularly monitors human rights issues in Muslim-majority countries related to women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, freedom of and from religion and freedom of expression. Their Global Advocacy Work falls under the following categories:Educational Campaign, Analysis, Advocacy and Outreach.[4]

Educational campaign[edit]

MPV produces, translates, and circulates educational materials addressing key areas of concern, such as infographics, social media content, short videos.

MPV circulates and translates shadow reports, policy briefs, statements.

Analysis[edit]

MPV produces statements, policy briefs and shadow reports to be shared with country representatives, policy makers, civil society and lay audience.

MPV monitors human rights issues in Muslim-majority countries.

MPV collects of grassroots information on human rights issues in Muslim-majority countries.

Events[edit]

MPV participates in debates, interactive dialogues, panel discussions and informal meetings with relevant Member States of the UN, civil society leaders and like-minded religious and non-religious non-governmental organizations. MPV organizes and attends parallel events and hosting of speakers, including scholars in Islam,progressive religious leaders and civil society leaders, to share their expertise and first-hand accounts on human rights issues to a global audience.

Advocacy and Outreach[edit]

MPV shares their mission, vision and guiding principles with women and LGBTQI human rights advocates, religious minority advocates, UN Member States, human rights NGOs and members of relevant UN human rights committees to for purposes of alliance, solidarity, and collaborations

MPV promotes perspectives derived from their work and analyses to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN treaty bodies and special mechanisms, and international, regional, and national NGOs involved in international advocacy.

MPV in the News[edit]

MPV is widely covered in America and global media such as BBC, TIME Magazine, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, the Los Angeles Times, Open Democracy, CNN, The New York Times, and the Huffington Post.

Media mentions:

Awards and recognition[edit]

MPV has received worldwide recognition for the work it has carried out and its uncompromising messaging.[10] In 2006, the American Society for Muslim Advancement named Ani Zonneveld “A Muslim Leader of Tomorrow”.[11] Recognized as an international progressive movement, MPV secured its consultative status at the United Nations in December 2013.[1] In 2014, MPV was awarded for its activism for LGBTQI rights by The Inner Circle, South Africa. In 2014, Ani Zonneveld was recognized by the LGBTQI website Advocate.com as a religious leader that gives hope to LGBTQI individuals.[12] Ani Zonneveld has been named as one of the world’s 100 WISE Muslim Women.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Muslims for Progressive Values Secures United Nation's Consultative Status". prlog.org. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "NGO/DPI Executive Committee – The Executive Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations Associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information". ngodpiexecom.org. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  3. ^ HINCH, JIM. "Muslim group posits harmony with Western values". ocregister.com. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Muslims for Progressive Values : 2015 Press Kit" (PDF). Static1.sqaurespace.com. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "MPV Principles". mpvusa.org. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  7. ^ Kaleem, Jaweed (29 March 2012). "Progressive Muslims Launch Gay-Friendly, Women-Led Mosques In Attempt To Reform American Islam". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "A New Muslim Renaissance is Here". time.com. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ "Muslims for Progressive Values nonprofit in Los Angeles, CA - Volunteer, Read Reviews, Donate - GreatNonprofits". greatnonprofits.org. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Making Progress - IMOW Muslima". imow.org. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "The Religious People Who Give Us Hope for Religion". advocate.com. 24 December 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Ani Zonneveld". WISE Muslim Women. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 

External links[edit]