MPV Staff

Ani Zonneveld - Founder and President

Ani Zonneveld is a writer, singer/songwriter, founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), an international human rights organization that advocates for social justice and equality for all, a strong supporter of freedom of expression and of conscience, women’s rights and as an ally, LGBTQ rights. Ani promotes these values at the United Nations by challenging human rights abuses in the name of Islam, and by offering an inclusive understanding based on universal human rights and justice. Since its inception, Ani has presided over MPV’s expansion to include chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Columbus and Chicago, and spearheaded the founding of Alliance Of Inclusive Muslims, made of members spanning five continents.

Ani is on the U.N. Inter-agency’s Faith Advisory Council, and recently commissioned by the U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to create an anti-hate speech curriculum for Muslim communities in 10 countries. She has organized numerous interfaith arts and music festivals, is the co-editor of MPV’s first book, an anthology titled “Progressive Muslim Identities – Personal Stories from the U.S. and Canada”; executive producer of a video series “LGBTQI Rights in Islam”; has contributed to many forewords and anthologies, and is a contributor for HuffingtonPostOpenDemocracy and al-Jazeera. She has a TEDx talk titled – Islam: As American As Apple Pie, and is the subject of a documentary title "al-imam" featuring Ani's activism works, screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. As an award winning 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. She continues to create spiritual worship songs for the purpose of creating a new culture for Western born Muslims.

Born in Malaysia, Ani, a Muslim since birth, 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.

For a full CV, please click here.   Twitter: @AniZonneveld  

Executive Assistant to the President

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Nadia Madden assists Muslims for Progressive Values with grant writing and strategic tracking. She is currently a board member and community organizer for the Boston chapter of Muslims for Progressive Values. Her work focuses on women’s rights, freedom of religion, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, and interfaith solidarity.

Prior to this, she was the co-Executive Director managing strategy, finance, and development for Saheli, a domestic violence agency serving women and their families in the South Asian community. She has also worked on research and outreach for the Energy and Water in a Warming World initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and on water development projects in rural and peri-urban communities in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. She is a cofounder and board member of WatSan Action, a nonprofit that partners with local organizations and underserved communities in Jakarta to support improvement of water and sanitation conditions.

Nadia has a BS in Ocean and Atmospheric Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MS in Water Resources from the University of New Hampshire, and an MS in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.

MARWAN BISHTAWI - ADMIN ASSISTANT

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Marwan Bishtawi joins MPV as U.N. Associate Coordinator in New York, covering human rights issues in the 3rd Committee specifically in the Arab and French speaking Muslim world. Marwan holds a Bachelor in Arts from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, where he majored in the Program of Liberal Studies. 

 

MICkEY WEEMS - MPV PUblishing/ Editor in Chief

Mickey Weems is a scholar, journalist, and teacher. He has been studying world religions since he was 13, and decided to convert to Islam after he found the Sufi interpretation of Islam to be an excellent means for spiritual transcendence and for appreciating all religions as well as secular humanism. In the course of his life, Weems has been a lifeguard and a US Marine (he was honorably discharged from the Corps, a choice he made in favor of lifeguarding because "I'd rather save lives than take them."). He has participated in Hindu, Wiccan, Baha'i, Shinto, Daoist, Native Hawaiian, Black church, mainstream Protestant, Roman Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, and Native American ceremonies. He visited the Universal House of Justice and Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, visited the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in France, and prayed in a mosque in Cairo, decades before his conversion. He underwent initiation in Yoruba-based African Brazilian religion, studied at an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva in Jerusalem, and experienced the spiritual ecstasy of communal dance in both raves and Gay male circuit events. Weems holds degrees in Philosophy (BA from Berea College), Anthropology (MA from University of Hawai‘i Manoa), Comparative Studies/Folklore (MA from The Ohio State University), and Somatics Studies/Cultural Studies/Education (PhD from OSU). He has written three books, edited the online Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay People (currently offline due to a cyberattack), and authored countless articles for the LGBT press and house music forums.

Rukan Saif- MPV Youth Intern (2018)

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Rukan Saif has always been amazed by the world: its diversity, its promise, and its inhabitants. Raised as the only child in an Islamic-Bangladeshi home, she is thankful to have learned of the significance of culture and religion over the past sixteen years. From a young age, Rukan was imbued with the idea that education is power. Now a junior attending Arcadia High School, she enjoys indulging in the pursuit of knowledge and using her poetry as a forum for expression and advocacy. Though she still has much else to learn, Rukan has realized through observing the intricacies in her community that she wants to impact anything and everything, and she believes working and exploring with the Muslims for Progressive Values family will bring her closer to her goal.

MPV Spiritual Leader (Imamah)

This position is now open for applications. Please access information about the position and its application HERE