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Imame  Ani  Zonneveld

Ani Zonneveld is a Malaysian-American singer, songwriter, activist and writer based in Los Angeles. She has released full albums of her own, including "Ummah Wake-Up", "One", "Islamic Hymns: Celebration of Life", produced for other artists, and participated in the writing of Grammy-winning songs.[1] She is the first Malaysian to have won a Grammy.

She is the president and co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), a non-profit organization in the United States, Canada, and Europe, which actively sustains an inclusive community that welcomes and supports interfaith marriages, gay marriages, gender & sexual minorities, as well as sectarian minorities.[2]

Zonneveld is also the editor, along with Vanessa Karam and Olivia Samad, of "Progressive Muslim Identities: Personal Stories from the U.S. and Canada," a 2011 anthology that features a diverse groups of Progressive Muslims, which had a foreword by Aasif Mandvi, published in the United States by Oracle Releasing.[3]

Early life

Ani Zonneveld was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, along with five other siblings, and was raised in Germany, Egypt, and India as the daughter of a Malaysian ambassador and his stay-at-home wife. 1981, she moved to the United States where she studied Economics and Political Science. After college, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue career as a musician instead of following her father's foot steps as she was expected to.

Music and Activism

As a musician, songwriter and producer, Zonneveld had a bustling career, produced several pop song for singer Ziana Zain for her earliest albums from 1991 to 1994 as well as composed pop tracks for Fauziah Latiff, Aishah and vocal boy-band Kool in Malaysia, she then collaborated with Siti Nurhaliza for which she won several top awards at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM), Malaysia's top music award-giving organization, including winning the Album of the Year twice through Siti's "Adiwarna" (1998) and "E.M.A.S" (2003) pop album; while she is three times finalist of in Anugerah Juara Lagu, a local song competition through her collaboration with Kool (1997 for "Cemburu" and 1998, "Satu Arah) and Siti (2003, "Ku Milikmu") dut didn't win any.

In Hollywood, her collaborations with Keb Mo' had earned her a Grammy nomination and becoming first Malaysian ever to be nominated and win in such prestigious awards. But after the September 11 attacks in the United States, Zonneveld's Muslim identity became a strong part of her career when she began making spiritual-themed music, including an album titled "Ummah Wake-Up," in which she sings the praise of Islam while encouraging Muslims to raise up for progressive causes, and also began performing at various interfaith organizational events in an effort to raise awareness of Islam as a religion of peace.[1]

A few years later, Zonneveld joined other concerned Muslims of progressive background as board member of Progressive Muslim Union of North America(PMU), a non-profit organization officially launched on November 15, 2004 in New York City. Before disbanding in 2006, the group was met with controversy when in 2005 they staged a public woman-led prayer in New York City, raising a global uproar.[4]

In 2007, Zonneveld, along with Pamela K. Taylor, started the Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV). Among its success include "Literary Zikr," a project that turns scholarly works into everyday language aimed at the youth and the general public; "Progressive Muslim Identities," an anthology highlighting personal struggles of progressive Muslims in the United States and Canada, including women of interfaith marriages, LGBT Muslims, and other minorities.[2]


  1. Kari Huus, Battling for gay rights, in Allah's name, MSNBC, October 24, 2011
  2. Jaweed Kaleem, Progressive Muslims Launch Gay-Friendly, Women-Led Mosques In Attempt To Reform American Islam, Huffington Post, March 29, 2012
  3. Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), Anthology
  4. Andrea Elliott, Woman Leads Muslim Prayer Service in New York, New York Times, March 19, 2005

(Source: Wikipédia)