Countering Extremism and Highlighting Diversity

MPV President Ani Zonneveld speaks with US Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) at an MPV event.

Exclusion seems to be at the root of many forms of extremism, whether religious, cultural, political, or otherwise. The growing and increasingly influential group Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) hopes to shift extremist attitudes among North American Muslims through their latest initiative, Literary Zikr. Co-founded as a non-profit by Ani Zonneveld in 2007, the group aims to counter Islamic radicalization of North American youth by presenting the work of progressive Muslim scholars in a simple and accessible format.

MPV, law enforcement officials, and academics all agree that Islamic extremists constitute a small percentage of Muslims in North America or anywhere, but MPV and other groups believe that addressing this problem, although small in numbers, is incredibly important and is the primary responsibility of Muslim communities themselves. Zonneveld explains:

We as Muslims should all be working together to counter radicalism… There are many within the [Muslim North American] community that are in denial. You bring up the word ‘radicalism’ and people immediately become defensive. If you’re silent, you’re just as guilty.

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Gender Separation in Mosques: Unequal Segregation or Mindful Modesty?

Mixed-Gender Eid al-Adha Prayer Led by Imam Pamela Taylor Photo by Glenn Koetzner

Over the past few years, this nation’s capital has become a hub for what some see as a  progressive movement among Muslim Americans. Reform efforts recently resulted in a mixed-gender Eid al-Adha prayer led by Imam Pamela Taylor. While a number of leaders and organizations have accelerated the progressive Muslim movement in metropolitan Washington, DC, one local area woman has been particularly influential.

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