The Top Ten 2021 Highlights from ADL’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities

2021 was a challenging year globally and it also impacted the work of the ADL Middle East Taskforce. Like so many, we could not organize in-person events, previously co-hosted with well-respected Washington, DC think tanks. Webinars replaced live audience programming. Although events remained accessible online, the advantage and impact of an in-person event was largely missing.

But, it was still a rich and rewarding year for us. Taskforce members remained dedicated to their battle against the persecution of ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual minorities in the Middle East and beyond.

We wrote letters to the US Secretary of State and to the UN highlighting issues of concern. Opinion pieces were published in mainstream media, which also turned to Taskforce members for comments on specific developments. Some Taskforce members wrote books on issues relating to freedom of religion and belief and all participated in a robust set of timely and important Task Force meetings and webinars.

We will pave ahead with our mission into the new year, always hoping to work harder and smarter for our cause.


Farahnaz Ispahani & Sharon Nazarian


ADL Taskforce on Middle East Minorities

December 2021

1) Sharon Nazarian & Marjan Keypour-Greenblatt “Don’t Be Hoodwinked by Iran’s Human Rights ‘Overtures’” The Algemeiner, December 17, 2021.

2) Letter to United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to broaden Priority-2 refugee admissions status to Afghan minority groups, November 29, 2021.

3) Marjan Keypour Greenblatt & Farahnaz Ispahani “The Repression of Women in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan: A Human Rights Issue” Ms. Magazine, November 24, 2021.

4) Narratives of Hate: State Media and the Persecution of Minorities in the Middle East, Webinar co-hosted with the Daniel Pearl Foundation, October 19, 2021.

5) ADL Task Force Press Statement expressing grave concern about Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, August 18, 2021.

6) Farahnaz Ispahani “The imminent danger for Afghanistan’s women and minorities” The Hill, August 17, 2021.

7) Aykan Erdemir & Tugba Tanyeri-Erdemir “State Department Should Deliver an Honest Message about Turkey’s Religious Freedom Record” Providence, June 3, 2021.

8) Novel Strategies in Bipartisan Advocacy for Iran’s Vulnerable Minorities, Webinar co-hosted with Foundation for Defense of Democracies, May 5, 2021.

9) The Role of Parliamentarians in Combating Religious Persecution, Webinar co-hosted with International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief , April 21, 2021.

10) Sharon Nazarian & Aykan Erdemir “The Middle East’s religious minorities are facing extinction. The world must act.” The Washington Post, March 8, 2021.

Chair: Sharon Nazarian

Senior Vice President, International Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League.

Co-chair: Aykan Erdemir (November 2020-June 2021)

Senior director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), steering committee member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), former member of the Turkish parliament

Co-chair: Farahnaz Ispahani (July 2021-February 2022)

Senior Fellow, Religious Freedom Institute, steering committee member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), author and former member of the Pakistani Parliament.

About ADL’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities: The mission of ADL’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities is to bring international attention to the human rights offenses committed against minority communities in the Middle East. The Task Force consists of regional and topical experts who serve as an advisory body to augment ADL’s work in protecting vulnerable minorities by identifying, elevating, and educating on emerging human rights issues in the Middle East.

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