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June 2015 - In This Issue:

A Month of Light and Hope

MPV's Ani Zonneveld and Shafferan Sonneveld met with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in Geneva. We discussed ways to strengthen human rights in the Muslim world, including MPV's #ImamsForShe initiative. More details to come!
This Month in Pictures
The panelists of the private #ImamsForShe Consultation in Geneva: Dr. Hasan of the Quilliam Foundation, Ani Zonneveld of MPV and Naureen Shameem of AWID. Missing: Ulil Abshar Abdallah of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace
MPV's Shafferan Sonneveld emphasizes the right for all girls to access education without discrimination at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council
MPV's Ani Zonneveld met with the Tunisian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York
MPV's Ani Zonneveld on Thom Hartmann's TV Show "The Big Picture" on anti-Islam expressions and the harmful effects of the Helms' Amendment on women in conflict zone.
Faith leaders meet in Washington DC to urge President Obama to act on Helms Amendment. Photo credit: CHANGE/John Nelson Photography
Special Rapporteur for Freedom of and from Belief Heiner Bielefeldt, Chian Yew Lim. Left photo - Michael De Dora, Chairman of NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Left photo: UN Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt, Human Rights Officer Chian Yew Lim and MPV's Ani Zonneveld in Geneva. Right photo: MPV's Ani Zonneveld and Michael De Dora, Chairman of UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief in New York
MPV-LA hosted an Iftar event on June 28, 2015. This is how we feel after some food!
A casual meeting between MPV Malaysia (KMU) and the G25, a group of elite individuals who are appealing for rational discourse on Islam to strengthen the influence of moderate Muslims in Malaysia.
MPV's Omair Paul supporting the Women's Major Group campaign to strengthen human rights and inclusivity in the upcoming Post-2015 Development Agenda by ensuring that governments listen to #WhatWomenWant. MPV has been working closely with the Women's Major Group to ensure that cultural and social realities, whether founded on theology or not, do not impede the enjoyment and benefit of this development agenda for all girls and women.
June Recap
MPV at the UN
  • MPV hosted an informal, private consultation sponsored by the Kingdom of the Netherlands prior to the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on #ImamsForShe.  See the event flyer here.
  • Ani Zonneveld spoke on Geneva for Human Rights Expert Seminar on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Gender Related Rights. See the flyer here
  • In a statement written by ILGA World in consultation with MPV, Organization Intersex International Australia Limited and United and Strong Inc., we emphasized at the Human Rights Council in Geneva that "neither culture nor religion may justify denying girls the full right to education and that all efforts to uphold the right to education of girls must take into account intersectional discrimination including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status and many other grounds, including faith". Read the statement here.
  • In a statement on violence against women written by ILGA World in consultation with MPV, Organization Intersex International Australia Limited and United and Strong Inc., we emphasized at the Human Rights Council that UN Member States must continue to introduce and implement legal protections for women and girls, repealing all laws, including state-enforced religious laws that support the patriarchal oppression of women in families and in society at large. Read the statement here.
  • MPV has launched its written submission for the Universal Periodic Review of Somalia. Read the Report here.
MPV Rejoices Marriage Equality Decision by the US Supreme Court
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. MPV recognizes the worth of every human being as endowed by our creator.  Seeking to enact justice through word and deed, MPV has worked to create inclusive spaces where LGBTQI Muslims are able to embrace both their faith and their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Read our press release here.

MPV is also a part of a related Amicus Curiae brief. Read it here.

Women Used as a Weapon of War Deserve Full Reproductive Health Services
Do you think women in conflict areas who are systematically raped deserve full reproductive health services? America's Helms' Amendment deprives our foreign aid of just that.

In partnership with and Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, MPV lobbied President Obama to change America's foreign policy funding. Ani Zonneveld discusses this issue on Thom Hartmann's show "The Big Picture" calling on President Obama to sign an Executive Order to over-ride the misinterpretation of Helms' Amendment. In addition, Ani also addresses islamophobia in America. 

View the interview by clicking here.
Apostasy and Blasphemy
The Qur'anic injunction, "Let there be no compulsion in religion(Qur'an 2:256) clearly allows individuals the right to choose a faith or not. In that spirit, we have been in consultation with UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief Heiner Bielefeldt in Geneva and with the UN Committee for Freedom of Religion and Belief in New York on the on-going push to criminalize apostasy and blasphemy in much of the Muslim world. 

American Muslims: Watch out for our upcoming campaign on this issue due to start after Eid. 

Read our position statement on Apostasy and Blasphemy here.
MPV in the News
Update from MPV Chapters
  • For a full calendar of activities and iftars, click here.
  • Join us on July 11, 2015 at 7:30 pm for an iftar dinner. Click here for details. 
Looking ahead in July
MPV will be participating in a global-level review mechanism called the High Level Political Forum, which will monitor the implementation of a 15-year long international development agenda the UN is calling the Post-2015 Development Agenda, to ensure that cultural relativism and faulty theocratic regimes will not bar this implementation at the national level.
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Muslims for Progressive Values
1626 N. Wilcox Ave., Suite 702,
Los Angeles, CA 90028 USA
+1-323-842-2869 [media inquiries]

Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) is the only American movement that advocates for egalitarian expressions of Islam, for women, for LGBTQI rights, for freedom of expression, and for freedom of and from religion and belief. MPV does this by creating inclusive spaces for religious discourse, the arts and social activism.