Denver Newsroom, Feb 22, 2022 / 11:16 am
A researcher with the Philos Project told journalists Tuesday that Iran is using incremental strategies to squeeze non-Muslims out of the country and in nearby states such as Iraq and Syria, and that the plight of Christians in the Middle East is “truly misunderstood” by most in the West.
Senior Research Fellow Dr. Farhad Rezaei, an Iranian Kurd, is a Christian convert who fled Iran and now teaches at York University in Canada. The Philos Project is a nonprofit group that educates about and advocates for Christians in the Near East.
Rezaei said during a Feb. 22 briefing that the narrative that only jihadists have contributed to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is “too simplistic,” and ignores the influence of Iran-backed militias in countries like Iraq.
A native Iranian, Rezaei noted that since the country’s 1979 revolution, Islamic leaders in Iran have described adherents to minority religions such as Christianity and Judaism as “pollution,” and have taken steps to shrink the size of the Christian and Jewish communities by pushing them out of the country.