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August 2009 Newsletter 
In This Issue
Health Care Reform in America
Art by Sama Wareh
Happy Ramadan!
MPV Retreat: A Review
The Arts and Spirituality
Health Care Reform in America:
MPV Doctor Giving a Voice to Physicians and Patients
Dear American Muslims,
Health care reform is an issue that we as Muslims need to be rallying for regardless of one's political leanings or religiosity. In the month of Ramadan, we are called to care for the under-served members of our community. This couldn't be a more succinct time to truly put our faith into action. Too many Americans are under-insured or uninsured. The site of poor Americans lining up by the thousands like cattle for free medical care provided by Remote Area Medical, in the outdoors or in a stadium is simply unthinkable, immoral. We need to pull up our sleeves and inform our congressman and women of our moral duty to take care of our fellow Americans.

Let's make a difference! 


Ani Zonneveld
Muslims for Progressive Values

We at MPV are proud to introduce to you a friend and doctor, A. Rab Razak. Dr. Razak, a hospitalist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, serves on the board of directors for Doctors for America and is a tireless advocate for health care reform.


As a doctor on the front lines, I know our health care system is broken.  The current system is failing my patients; treatable illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are often uncontrolled because of the lack of coordination in the health care system and high cost of care. Many of my patients come to me with cancers that have spread throughout the body but could have been detected earlier with a simple screening test. Some patients cannot find a primary care physician in their community and end up using the costly emergency room to get basic care. Other patients have delayed going to the doctor as long as possible because they don't have the money for it or have been denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition. 


Just last week, I admitted a diabetic patient to the intensive care unit. He had uncontrolled blood sugar to the point where there was excessive acid build up in his body (Diabetic Keto Acidosis). He had lost his health insurance along with his job and couldn't afford his diabetes medication. With a family to feed, he had to decide what was more important, providing food for his family or his own life. I see situations like this on a daily basis. Families are afraid to go to a primary care physician because they don't have insurance. Treatable and preventable illnesses escalate unnecessarily.


Despite spending more on health care than any other country, approximately $2.25 trillion dollars per year, 47 million Americans have no health insurance coverage. Health care costs are rapidly increasing, while wages have remained stagnant. Half of all bankruptcies are related to medical expenses and most people are only receiving half of the recommended care they should be getting. It is clear that the current system is failing millions of Americans each year. We can and must make a change. Maintaining the status quo for our health care system is simply unacceptable.


I became a doctor to make a difference in peoples lives, to provide comfort and relief to patients in need. As a physician, I have a duty and responsibility to speak up for what is best for my patients. That is why I am an unwavering advocate for health care reform this year.


Contrary to what the media repo
rts about the lack of physicians supporting reform, I know I am not alone. I am one of at least 450,000 physicians nationwide who are in support of health care reform that includes affordable, high quality health coverage for all Americans. Not only is reform necessary, it makes sense. I am advocating for a system that:


* Rewards physicians for the value of their services and for keeping patients healthy, rather than the number of patients seen and procedures accomplished.


* Preserves the doctor-patient relationship. The health care system should ensure treatment decisions are made by doctors and patients, without unnecessary intrusion by insurance companies.


* Prioritizes primary care, prevention and wellness. This will ultimately result in lower health costs for business and government. Chronic, preventable diseases represent 70% of our health care costs.  We need a system that helps prevent these diseases, by emphasizing cancer screening, smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss, and immunizations, rather than waiting until these conditions become difficult and costly to treat.


Please join me and many other concerned physicians and citizens by getting involved in the health care reform movement.  You can start by attending town hall meetings and getting others to join you. Most importantly, call or meet with your congressional leaders and let them know you want reform this year.  With your support, we have the opportunity to bring about meaningful change.




A. Rab. Razzak, M.D.


Learn more at

zainah and sara

The Arts & Spirituality

a CD by Somali-Canadian rapper K'NAAN 
K'naan, Somalia-born, Toronto-based rapper, utilizes his mesmerizing voice and lyrical style to share socially conscious messages about his experiences growing up in war-torn Somalia and immigrating to North America. The result: a totally unique, moving and soulful album.
"Light in the Dark"
Light in the Dark

Happy Ramadan!

MPV wishes you a spiritually uplifting and peaceful

Progressive Muslim communities across the country are coming together for the following events:

The Progressive Muslim Meet-Up NYC will be meeting once a week to break fast together (Iftaar).

Progressive Muslim Meet-Up Los Angeles has two Iftaars planned (Aug. 29th and Sept. 5th) and will be congregating for Friday prayers on Sept. 4th. 
A special "Yamadan" (Yom Kippur + Ramadan) event at the Washington Progressive Muslims Meet-Up!
MPV Retreat: A Review
NPV Retreat 2009
- Muslims for Progressive Values Retreat -
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
"Building a Progressive Muslim Community"
June 20-21, 2009 
This inspiring two day retreat brought together progressive Muslims from across North America. We kicked off the event with opening remarks by MPV president and founder, Ani Zonneveld, followed by introductions by Pamela Taylor (MPV co-founder, Ohio), El Farouk Khaki (Noor Cultural Center and SALAAM, Toronto), Kelly Wentworth (American Islamic Fellowship, Atlanta, via conference call), Sam Aboelela (New York Meetup), and Irim Siddiqui (Washington Progressive Muslim Meetup, DC). Each leader spoke about the challenges and successes of building their own area Progressive Muslim movement. Tynan Power (co-founder of Al-Fatiha, Massachussets) and Patricia Dunn (in whose basement was founded, New York) were also present to share their experiences.

 El Farouk led the group in another session discussing strategies of organizing grassroots causes and event planning. Pamela gave tips on how to get editorials published in print media and build credibility among reporters and journalists. Jihad Saleh, a Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives, provided advocacy training for groups and individuals interested in advocating issues of interest to elected officials, and techniques in organizing an effective, successful 15-minute meeting. Role-playing and Q&A from the attendees resulted in a very lively session.

Professor Kristin Sands, a professor of Islamic Studies at Sarah Lawrence College, spoke on the role of spirituality in activism. She drew examples from the humanitarian and philanthropic efforts of Dorothy Day, Mahatma Gandhi, Badrshah Khan, the Quakers ("Friends"), Professor Cornell West, and Aga Khan and the Ismaili community. Attendees discussed their own experiences and philosophies regarding spirituality, faith, and the practical implementation of their belief systems in daily life.
Interspersed with these discussions were the screening of short films such as "The Noble Struggle of Amina Wadud" and "Sedition". Mecca-style prayers was also an intrinsic part of the program with Pamela Taylor and other attendees taking turn at leading prayer.  On Saturday night, everyone headed to Manhattan for dinner followed by a performance of
Kominas and the NYC screening of "The New Muslim Cool".

One of the most important aspects of the Muslims for Progressive Values annual retreat is the bonding and relationships that are built. Nothing brings people together like a weekend spent reflecting, sharing, learning and having fun! Building on the success of this year's retreat, we have already begun planning for next year. We hope to see you there!
The Arts & Spirituality

 "Between 2 Spaces"
Halide Salam
The book is much like a journal, compiled of personal notes, essays and quotations. Salam writes of her painting process and objectives, sources of inspiration and memorable  passages in life. She credits her parents and religious upbringing with her success as an artist and teacher. Dr. Salam is an art professor at Radford University.
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