MPV's 2018 Celebration of Life event will laud the tireless efforts of artists and activists from the Muslim world who have fought against human rights abuses, and sought to affirm the equal worth of all human beings.

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MPV’s “Celebration of Life” presents a novel interactive approach raising awareness about human rights heroes, with celebrity guests delivering a monologue as the activists they are honoring. 

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Our 2018 honorees include:

Nadia Anjuman was an Afghani advocate for education and empowerment of women and girls. When the Taliban shut down the schools for girls, she rallied with other local women and began attending an underground educational circle called the Golden Needle Sewing School, under the guise of learning how to sew. After Herat's liberation, Anjuman completed her degree in literature from Herat University at 21 years old. She published a book of poetry, entitled “Gul-e-dodi” (“Flower of Smoke”) which proved popular in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Anjuman was murdered in 2005 by her husband after an argument, but those close to her were aware of his jealousy of her talent, and her fame for being an outspoken woman. Many consider her death an honor crime.

Xulhaz Mannan was an employee of the United States embassy in Dhaka and the founder of Bangladesh's first and only LGBT-themed magazine Roopbaanwhich launched in 2014. He had worked in the human rights sector and was especially an advocate for the LGBT community in Bangladesh. Mannan successfully arranged a Rainbow Rally in Dhaka on 14 April 2015, however, the rally was cancelled in 2016 on police instruction as Islamic groups threatened to kill anyone taking part. Mannan was killed in his apartment along with another LGBT activist Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in a machete attack by Islamist extremists, shortly after expressing his own sexuality online via a Facebook post.

Elham Arab is an Iranian model who was arrested in 2016 for “promoting western promiscuity” through an Instagram post in which she revealed her hair. She is one of a string of Iranian models caught up in a sting operation code-named “Spider 2”, aimed at models and other figures in the fashion industry who have advertised themselves or appeared on social media sites. The court has charged the arrested models with offences including "spreading prostitution" and "promoting corruption", saying they promoted "immoral and un-Islamic culture and promiscuity". She was forced to go to trial, issue a self-criticizing apology and renounce her profession. Arab fled Iran with her husband and is currently living in Dubai.

Sheikh Hamza Cordera was an Imam in Burundi and an MPV partner in #ImamsForShe. He was a fervent advocate for women and girl's rights, often bravely speaking out against human rights atrocities in East Africa. He was shot dead on his way to the mosque, after being approached about the "political motives" behind his religious sermons.

Join MPV for an elegant affair in Los Angeles, California. In a colorful program of personal tributes, poetry readings, and live music, we will laud the tireless efforts of artists and activists who have fought against human rights abuses in the world and sought to affirm the equal worth of all human beings. By celebrating and honoring these heroic defenders of #FreedomOfExpression and #FreedomOfConscience, MPV affirms that we can inspire others to do the same.  

*Appetizers and soft drinks will be served with General Admissions. Cocktails available for purchase. Dress code is business casual. Space limited, reserve your seats online at now, or become a sponsor. Contact us at, or call 323.696.2678.