3:00 pm15:00

Faith & Feminism: Breaking Stereotypes

Breaking stereotypes for transformed social norms on women and work: The role of men and boys and faith actors in achieving sustainable change for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. MPV’s Ani Zonneveld will be a respondent.

When: 3-5 pm
Where: The Japan Society - 333 E 47th St
Co-sponsors: UNWOMEN, UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development, WCC, Musawah, World YWCA, MenEngage Alliance, Baha’i Faith, Promundo, Tearfund, Church of Sweden, Rozaria and Muslims for Progressive Values

1:15 pm13:15

Faith and Feminism Strategy and Advocacy Roundtable with Karima Bennoune

Roundtable, hosted by the Faith and Feminism Working Group (of which MPV is a member), featuring Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Karima Bennoune; discussion will draw from experience of key actors and ideas regarding advocacy, strategy and opportunities for collaboration on faith and feminism issues at the UN. MPV’s Omair Paul will be leading the round-table.

When: 1.15 pm to 2.45 pm
Where: Baha’i Office, 866 UN Plaza Suite 120, NY 10017

3:00 pm15:00

Women—A Pivotal Force for Change

MPV's president Ani Zonneveld is a speaker (and singer) on a panel: Women, a Pivotal Force for Change. Join MPV in celebration of Women's Rights Day at California State Fullerton University on women's issues from various women's perspective, which promises to be a very informative experience. 

When: 3 - 6 pm
Where: CalState Fullerton, Titan Student Union, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton 92831
Organizer: California Women's Society for Democracy in Iran

11:30 am11:30

UN SIDE PANEL: Facing Up to the Global Avalanche of Hate

At the United Nations March 3, 10 - 11:30 am

Human Rights Council - Geneva

Join us at a side event “Facing Up to the Global Avalanche of Hate:
The Impact of Fundamentalism and Extremism on Cultural Rights” a discussion in conjunction with the release of Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune’s report. Also on the panel are Magnus Ag (Freemuse), Samia Allalou (journalist, director), Professor Chetan Ghatt (Center for the Study of Human Rights), Alejandra Sarda-Chandiramani, and MPV’s Ani Zonneveld as moderator.

Ask a Muslim: What is true Islam?
5:30 pm17:30

Ask a Muslim: What is true Islam?

  • Founder's Metropolitan Community Church

With the toxic media and political narrative of Muslims feeding into a vitriolic atmosphere, it is time we come together for an open and honest discussion about Islam. 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? And finally, how do we combat the atmosphere of violence and hate that has befallen our Muslim compatriots? Join us as we discuss these questions and more in our next “Ask A Muslim” panel discussion at the Founder’s Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, CA on November 13th.

Ask a Muslim, the monthly series organized by The Markaz and Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), presents an opportunity for an honest discussion about the toxic narrative of Islam in the United States. Moderated by MPV’s Director of Communications, Crystal Keshawarz, we will welcome Arabic scholar, PBS writer/producer, published author, and Muslim ally David Stansfield, to discuss his research through his book, Islam vs. ISIS: Why the True Islam is the Exact Opposite of ISIS. Professor Kenyatta Bakeer-Allgood, a scholarly pillar of the Los Angeles Muslim community, will join us to discuss solutions to ending the toxic narrative of Islam as well as her perspectives on what constitutes, “True Islam.”

Speaker Bios: 

David Stansfield.jpeg

David Stansfield - Born in England, David has spent most of his career as an educator and educational television writer-producer in Canada and the United States. He has written and produced some four hundred television scripts for TVOntario in Canada, PBS, the Discovery Channel, NHK, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Time-Life. His TV productions have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have won over fifty international film and television awards, including the nomination of “The Middle East” series for the Best Educational Documentary category of the 1987 Academy Awards. He has also served as Media Delegate to the Gulf States in the Middle East for the Ontario Government. His book, Islam vs. ISIS, was endorsed by Khizr Khan, who said,  “This is an exceptionally well presented, timely, and much needed work. As I read it I gain light and grace from it. Thank you, David You inspire me, you are our hero. May your pen have more power and you have peace, health, and success.”

Kenyatta Baker-Allgood - Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kenyatta hails from a family that has been instrumental in building the foundation of Islam in Los Angeles. Her parents were both educators who helped start and taught in Mohammad Schools and Sister Clara Muhammad Schools. Kenyatta holds a BA in Child Development and an MA in Early Childhood Education. She is in the initial stages of beginning her PhD in interreligious studies at Bayan Claremont Institute. Kenyatta currently serves as a Child Development Professor for the Los Angeles Community College District and National University as well as a consultant for child care centers and programs. She and her husband Marcus are members of LA Voice, an interfaith organization that has over 55 congregations that have been instrumental in changing Los Angeles for the better. They were successful in passing Proposition 47, which reduces 6 low level felonies to misdemeanors and gives people resources to help them in their overall life. Kenyatta is a Khateebah for The Women’s Mosque of America, and she serves as a member of the SoCal Muslim/Jewish Forum.


Crystal Keshawarz (Moderator) - Crystal is MPV’s Director of Communications, and combatting Islamophobia through peacemaking has been a key motivation in her work with the organization. She recently collaborated with Local Progress to present a referendum to end Islamophobia to West Hollywood’s City Council, which passed with a unanimous vote. Her work to bring MPV and its community partners together for a solidarity march and peace rally in Los Angeles was featured in Upworthy, and this December she will host the first international conference of Afghan Women in the Diaspora in London. She attended Arizona State University where she studied Political Science and International Studies.


5:00 pm17:00

Election Night Social

  • City Club Los Angeles, 51st Floor City National Building

Hey Progressive Muslims! Come join MPV on election night as we watch the results come in live on a big screen at City Club Los Angeles! There will be some media coverage there that evening so come prepared to speak your truth and share your views! Or just come enjoy the mouth-watering sliders and an evening with friends!

Please RSVP so that we can ensure you will have access to the club. Parking is $8 dollars in the garage after 4 pm.

Ask a Muslim: Islamophobia and Homophobia after Orlando
7:00 pm19:00

Ask a Muslim: Islamophobia and Homophobia after Orlando

  • LA Press Club

Since the tragedy in Orlando there has been a spotlight on homophobia within Muslim communities, the subsequent anti-Islam backlash, and the claim by conservative Muslim organizations that you are "either with us or against us." Ask A Muslim, the monthly series organized by The Markaz and Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), presents an opportunity for an honest discussion about being LGBTQI and Muslim.

This panel features Dr. Hamid Mavani, an Islamic scholar at Bayan Claremont, and Ani Zonneveld from MPV,  with LA Times moderator Jaweed Kaleem. The conversation will review the realities faced by LGBTQI Muslims in the U.S. and abroad, and will discuss how mainstream Muslim organizations deal with homophobia. The panel will also discuss recent revelations pointing to the fact that there is an entire “Islamophobia industry” in the United States, funded to the tune of more than $200 million.



Ask A Muslim is a new monthly series free and open to the public that addresses some of the most pressing questions surrounding Islam today. In a time when Islam is the subject of much discussion and controversy in the media, Ask A Muslim hopes to foster an ongoing open dialogue, in a safe space for debate, and promote a more informed understanding of Arab/Muslim cultures. Ask A Muslim engages the greater Los Angeles community across all religious, cultural and political boundaries, to foster public conversation about the Qur’an and what constitutes a compassionate, egalitarian and peaceful practice in all its manifestations, with the intention to dispel simplistic or stereotypical interpretations and vilification of the Muslim religion. 


The Markaz is L.A.’s Arts Center for the Greater Middle East, where arts and peace give voice to our dreams for peace. MPV’s mission is to embody and be an effective voice of the traditional Qur’anic ideals of human dignity, egalitarianism, compassion and social justice.


Hamid Mavani is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Bayan Claremont—Claremont School of Theology in California. His expertise in Islamic Studies stems from both academic training at universities as well as specialized theological training at the traditional seminaries in the Muslim world. His primary fields of interest include Islamic legal reform, women and Shi‘a law, Islamic theology and political thought, Islam and secularity, intra-Muslim discourse, and environmental ethics. He is the author of a book published by Routledge in June 2013 titled,Religious Authority and Political Thought in Twlever Shi‘ismFrom Ali to Post-Khomeini. Dr. Mavani’s scholarship also includes translations of Islamic texts from Arabic and Persian into English. His most recent translation from Persian to English is a work on jihad by Ayatollah Salehi Najafabadi, providing a novel and a creative re-reading of this much misunderstood concept. He is presently under contract with the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom (CIRF), translating a ground-breaking work by Ayatollah Mohsen Kadivar on Islam, apostasy, and blasphemy.

Ani Zonneveld is founder and President of MPV. Since inception, Ani has presided over MPV’s expansion to include chapters and affiliates in 12 countries and 19 cities. She has organized numerous interfaith arts and music festivals, participated in many interfaith dialogues and is a strong supporter of human rights and freedom of expression. She is the brainchild of Literary Zikr – a project that counters radical Islam on-line and co-editor of MPV’s first book, an anthology titled “Progressive Muslim Identities – Personal Stories from the U.S. and Canada”; she has contributed to many forewords and numerous anthologies and is a contributor for Huffington PostOpenDemocracy and al-Jazeera, and recently gave her TEDx talk titled – Islam: As American As Apple Pie. As an award winning singer/songwriter, she utilizes the power of music and the arts in countering radicalism as she speaks-sings her message of social justice and peace from a progressive Muslim woman’s perspective, and is the first woman to release an English Islamic pop album in the U.S. in 2004. Born and raised Muslim from Malaysia and based out of Los Angeles, Ani spent a good portion of her formative years raised in Germany, Egypt and India as an Ambassador’s daughter. Her exposure to different politics, religions and cultures has shaped her inclusive worldview.

(Moderator) Jaweed Kaleem is the national race and justice reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where he writes about how race and ethnicity shape our evolving understanding of what it means to be American. Before joining The Times, Kaleem was the senior religion reporter at the Huffington Post for five years. From 2007 to 2011, he was a reporter for the Miami Herald. He attended Emerson College in Boston and grew up in Northern Virginia.


#ImamsForShe: Workshops with International Imams and Scholars of Islam on Preventing and Countering Violence against Women and Girls
8:30 am08:30

#ImamsForShe: Workshops with International Imams and Scholars of Islam on Preventing and Countering Violence against Women and Girls

  • United Nations Geneva

#ImamsForShe: Workshops with International Imams and Scholars of Islam on Preventing and Countering Violence against Women and Girls

  • June 14, 2016
  • 8:30 - 10 AM
  • Palais des Nations, Geneva

Sign up using the below registration form to participate in MPV's workshop event "#ImamsForShe: Workshops with International Imams and Scholars of Islam on Preventing and Countering Violence against Women and Girls".

We have organized a unique event consisting of three workshops involving #ImamsForShe champions, who are tasked to resolve real case studies of discrimination and violence against women and girls. Together with women’s rights defenders and activists, the #ImamsForShe champions will demonstrate that women’s rights can be promoted using international human rights law and Shari’a. Key issues assessed are early and forced marriages, inheritance, female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) and access to education.

Name *
Which workshop would you like to attend? *
Choose only
CSW60 Event: In Conversation with #ImamsForShe Champions
12:30 pm12:30

CSW60 Event: In Conversation with #ImamsForShe Champions

  • Salvation Army

Sign up using the below registration form to participate in MPV's CSW60 Event: "In Conversation with #ImamsForShe Champions: Workshops on Tackling Violence against Women and Girls together". 

We have organized a unique event consisting of workshops involving #ImamsForShe champions, who are tasked to resolve real case studies of discrimination and violence against women and girls. Together with women’s rights defenders and activists, the #ImamsForShe champions will demonstrate that women’s rights can be promoted using international human rights law and Shari’a. Key issues assessed are early and forced marriages, inheritance, female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) and access to education.

Name *
Which workshop would you like to attend? *
Choose one only please
CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Remembering Those Lives We Often Forget
7:00 pm19:00

CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Remembering Those Lives We Often Forget

  • CBS Studio Center - Carla's Cafe

JANUARY, 24TH, 2016 - Join us for a celebratory event in Los Angeles, California, to highlight the achievements of human rights defenders around the globe. #FreedomOfConscience

An evening of music, poetry, and appearances by prominent human rights advocates such as Mayor Eric Garcetti, Ensaf Haider (Author and Wife of Raif Badawi), David Kaye, Karima Bennoune, Reza Aslan, their families and their celebrity supporters, to draw attention to pervasive threats to human rights, which can be thwarted only with education and the freedom to think critically. 

Would you like to sponsor this event or purchase a Solidarity Ad in our program? Learn more here.


  • Raif Badawi - imprisoned for 10 years and sentenced to 1000 lashes for critically analyzing the oppressive theocracy and archaic status quo in Saudi Arabia.
  • Waleed Abu Al-Khair - Raif's lawyer, sentenced to 15 years for defending Badawi’s right to free speech.
  • Farkhunda Malikzada - a 27 year old theology teacher who publicly opposed a prominent mullah who sold charms & took advantage of the poor, was lynched by a mob of over 50 men in Afghanistan.
  • Samira al-Nuaimy - tortured and murdered at the hands of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq after criticizing its barbarism and destruction of Islamic heritage sites.
  • Salwa Bugaighis - lawyer, political & human rights activist, murdered in Libya for fostering egalitarian governance.
  • Sabeen Mahmud - human rights activist & NGO worker, assassinated for shedding light on the atrocities faced by minorities in Pakistan.
  • Saado Ali Warsame - a Somalian parliamentarian and singer of socially relevant songs who was gunned down by Al Shabaab in 2014.
  • Nisha Ayub - arrested, fined and charged simply for being transgendered in Malaysia.
  • Islam Behery -  a progressive Islamic scholar jailed for challenging Sunni Islam's al-Azhar University religious ideology in Egypt.

#ImamsForShe: Engaging Men and Women Religious Leaders in Empowering Women
3:00 pm15:00

#ImamsForShe: Engaging Men and Women Religious Leaders in Empowering Women

  • Church Center of the United Nations

The event will share and discuss grassroots and state-level initiatives underway in changing societal mindsets on gender equality, human rights and women’s empowerment and participation in Muslim societies, particularly in working within the Islamic framework to reform discriminatory legislation and to counter harmful cultural practices.

Three case studies will be explored:

1) The unique work on gender equality carried out by women spiritual leaders called “Morchidats” in Morocco.

2) UNFPA Morocco’s work in advocating for youth-specific policies, services and information, sexual and reproductive health, and gender equality

3) MPV’s global initiative #ImamsForShe that collaborates with religious leaders in debunking misogynist interpretations of Islamic Scripture.

The event will examine ways to foster these multi-faceted approaches to sustainably deconstruct patriarchal structures and build societies based on peace and gender parity.

Women’s full access to meaningful participation in all realms of societal, economic and political life - as called for by the Women, Peace and Security Agenda - is only possible when the causes for gender discrimination and violence are dealt with at their root.

  • Opening Remarks: Dr. Azza Karam (UNFPA Senior Advisor, Culture and Coordinator of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development)
  • Speaker: Rosa Rogers, Filmmaker and Director of Casablanca Calling (via Skype)
  • Speaker: Dr. Hind Jalal (UNFPA Morocco Program Specialist and Gender Mainstreaming) (via Skype)
  • Moderator/Speaker: Ani Zonneveld, President and Founder of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV)

2015 MPV Retreat
Oct 11

2015 MPV Retreat

This year, through the theme of “Islam Beyond Cultures” the planning committee hopes to foment an environment of revitalization through a focus on prayer (in its many iterations) and playing (in its many iterations) as avenues for practical spirituality in Islam. In short, as Muslims we can (should?) both pray together and play together. Playing and Praying can take multiple forms; and we hope to spend the weekend practicing some of them as a community. We will kick off the retreat with a Friday prayer and end marching in the Atlanta Pride Parade!

More Information here:

Geneva for Human Rights Expert Seminar: Dialogue on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Related Rights
3:30 pm15:30

Geneva for Human Rights Expert Seminar: Dialogue on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Related Rights

  • United Nations Palais des Nations

Agenda topics are:

  • Dialogue on ‘Synergies and conflicts between freedom of religion or belief and gender related rights’
  • Dialogue on ‘Overcoming religious and gender stereotypes’ 
  • Perspectives for this dialogue 

Speakers include:

  • Ambassador Roderick van Schreven (The Netherlands)
  • Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Heiner Bielefeldt
  • Willy Fautré (HRWF)
  • Representatives from Permanent Missions and Religions
  • Diane Alai (BIC)
  • André du Plessis (ILGA)
  • Prof. Anastasia Crickley (CERD)
  • John Fischer (HRW)
  • Ani Zonneveld (Muslims for Progressive Values) 

See flyer here.

#ImamsForShe: Defying Violence against Women and Girls
2:15 pm14:15

#ImamsForShe: Defying Violence against Women and Girls

  • United Nations

MPV is hosting an informal consultation on #ImamsForShe at the United Nations in Geneva, after a successful launch event at the Commission on the Status of Women Session 59 in New York earlier this year. #ImamsForShe is an initiative to support and empower Imams, religious leaders and Islamic scholars who debunk misogynistic interpretations of Islamic scripture and traditions that have led to human rights violations against women and girls across Muslim-majority countries and within Muslim communities in the West. This private and informal consultation provides an opportunity for Imams, Muslim women's human rights activists and defenders, policy makers and NGO representatives to have a constructive discussion on strategic language and steps in bringing a positive change to those women and girls deprived of basic human dignity.

See the flyer here.

Butterflies of the Soul
8:00 pm20:00

Butterflies of the Soul

  • Busboys and Poets

Join us for an evocative night of creative aspirations to the divine. We will be coming together to connect various permutations of words, music and imagery, in an attempt to re-invent the culture of intellect through the synthesis of art, science and spirituality.

See the flyer here.