Press Release

ADL Task Force Endorses Congressional Legislation in Support of Middle East Minorities

New York, NY, February 4, 2020 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) Task Force on Middle East Minorities today endorsed three bipartisan pieces of federal legislation designed to increase U.S. support to vulnerable minority groups: the Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals including Minorities Act, the Resolution Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the Resolution Calling for the Global Repeal of Blasphemy, Heresy, and Apostasy Laws. 

First, the Task Force endorsed H.R. 2537, a bill granting a much-needed grace period for those Iraqi nationals living in the United States, including minorities, who face old U.S. deportation orders but deserve a chance to adjudicate their status in light of changed conditions on the ground in Iraq.  Task Force Member Shadi Martini commended this bill, stating that “this bill helps ensure that Iraqi-born nationals, including those who have little connection today to Iraq, shouldn’t be expelled by U.S. immigration authorities and placed into danger in Iraq.”  Mr. Martini is Executive Director of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees.

The House resolution supporting Coptic Egyptians, H. Res. 49, urges the Government of Egypt to enact reforms to ensure that Egyptian Copts consistently receive the same rights in practice as other Egyptian citizens, including by ending the culture of legal impunity for mob attacks against Egyptian Christians.  Welcoming the Task Force’s endorsement of this resolution, Task Force Member Samuel Tadros stated “there has never been a case in which mob violence against Copts in Egypt was punished by the legal system.  That has to change.”  Mr. Tadros is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and the author of Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity.

Finally, today ADL’s Task Force is also endorsing H. Res. 512/S. Res. 458, which raises concern about the harm caused by blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws, including against minority groups, and urges the U.S. government to make the international repeal of these laws a human rights priority.  ADL Task Force Member Farahnaz Ispahani stated that “in many countries blasphemy laws are to blame for unleashing vigilante violence against religious minorities.  This resolution is an important step in the fight to combat this practice.”  Ms. Ispahani is a former Member of Parliament from Pakistan and the author of Purifying The Land of The Pure: Pakistan's Religious Minorities.