Addressing Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws in Muslim Societies Workshop
We are pleased to invite you to attend Muslims for Progressive Values upcoming workshop "Addressing Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws in Muslim Societies", on September 14, 2022 from 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM EST at Rayburn HOB Room 2060 at Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The event is also open to the public, and we welcome all those interested in advancing freedom of religion and belief. For those who cannot join us in person, you can join us virtually via Zoom.

The practice of criminalizing the religious beliefs of others through apostasy and blasphemy legislation violates the fundamental teachings of Islam as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines the right to freedom of religion, belief, and thought to all individuals. However, eradicating apostasy and blasphemy laws in Muslim societies can never be achieved until we understand the historical, religious, and political context of its origins.

To signify the importance of this context, the first hour of the forum will offer a presentation led by experts on the intersectionality of religion, politics, and human rights.
The second hour is a workshop that will be conducted specifically from the prism of progressive and feminist Muslims in their work to counter apostasy and blasphemy laws. The workshop will also address strategies to partner with faith leaders and how to effectively collaborate with the youth in inculcating a culture of human rights. The workshop will be led by human rights advocates from Malaysia, Uganda, Pakistan and the U.S. with ample opportunity for active participatory engagement.

Please fill out this brief form detailing your information. You can also edit your responses at a later date. For those who will be joining us virtually, a link to join the workshop will be shared via email prior to the event.

Program Outline:

1. Welcome & Introductions

Maliha Khan (MPV, Board of Trustees), Welcome & Housekeeping

Mariah Mercer (Deputy to the Ambassador and Deputy Director at U.S. Department of State), Welcoming Remarks

Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussein, Keynote Speaker (via video message)

Ambassador Tom McDonald (MPV, Board of Trustees), Introduction

Congresswoman Cindy Axne, (IA-03)

2. Session I: Laying the Foundation

In order to counter the prominence of apostasy and blasphemy laws in Muslim societies, it is important to understand the social, historical and religious contexts they are rooted in.


Mike Mohamed Ghouse, Director of the Center for Pluralism

3. Session II: Workshop - Strategies toward Eradicating Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws
Interactive session on strategic and advocacy efforts in countering narratives of Islamic fundamentalism that not only undergird FoRB, women and rights violations against LGBTIQ+ persons, but also provide the discursive basis for radicalism and violent extremism. Panelists will also expound upon strategies for sourcing human rights narratives from within Islam and recommendations.

Workshop Panelists:
  • Ms. Ani Zonneveld (USA), Founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values | Muslim Minority in the West Perspective

  • Mr. Hisham Muhaimi (Malaysia), Project Officer, Komuniti Muslim Universal | Youth Perspective

  • Ms. Ashah Mwanga (Uganda), Executive Director, Alliance of Inclusive Muslims-Africa | Feminist Perspective

  • Raza M (Pakistan), Social Activist | LGBTQIA+ Perspective

Any questions you would like the participants to address can be shared ahead of time in this form.

We look forward to seeing you at the Addressing Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws in Muslim Societies Workshop!

The MPV Team
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