573 Muslims, 2 Christians: Syrian Refugees Admitted to US Since Paris Terror Attacks

By Patrick Goodenough | February 8, 2016 | 4:11 AM EST

Syrian refugees in a refugee camp in Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border on Friday, June 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)

(CNSNews.com) – The number of Syrian refugees being resettled in the United States continues to climb slowly, but of the 576 admitted since last November’s Paris terrorist attack, only two (0.3 percent) are Christians.

The two Christians are an Orthodox man and a Greek Orthodox man, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

Meanwhile, 560 Sunni Muslims (97.2 percent), three Shi’ite Muslims, and 10 others identified simply as “Moslem” have been admitted over the same period. One last Syrian male refugee is identified as “other religion.”

Of the Sunnis admitted, 289 (51.6 percent) are male, 271 (48.4 percent) are female. Two of the Shi’ites are male, one if female, and of the 10 “Moslems,” seven are male and three are female.

When the Syrian civil war began almost five years ago Christians accounted for approximately 10 percent of the Syrian population. The European Parliament estimates that more than 700,000 Christians have fled their homeland since then.

The Nov. 13 attack in the French capital, which cost 130 lives, stoked fresh fears that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group is using refugee admission programs as a way to access Western countries.

The small number of Christians among those admitted since the ISIS attack mirrors the proportion admitted into the U.S. since the beginning of fiscal year 2016, on Oct. 1 – seven Christians (0.8 percent) out of a total of 867 refugees. The seven are three Catholics (two males, one female), two Orthodox males, one Greek Orthodox male, and one described simply as “Christian.”

The rest of the 867 admitted so far in FY 2016 comprise 846 Sunnis (97.5 percent) – of whom 443 (52.4 percent) are males and 403 (47.6 percent) are females – as well as the three Shi’ites (0.3 percent), 10 “Moslems” (1.1 percent), and one (0.1 percent) described as having “no religion.”

The Obama administration plans to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees during FY 2016.

Since the civil war in Syria began -- with anti-government protests and a violent crackdown in March 2011 – the U.S. has admitted a total of 2,740 Syrian refugees. Of that number, 55 (2.0 percent) are Christians and 2,565 (93.6 percent) are Sunni Muslims.

The rest are 70 “Moslems,” 16 Shi’ites, eight Jehovah’s Witnesses, six Zoroastrians, two Baha’i, one Yazidi, seven “other religion,” seven “no religion” and three atheists.

Of the total 2,740 Syrian refugees admitted since March 2011, 743 (27.1 percent) are men aged between 14 and 50.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow