14,172 Syrian Refugees Admitted in 2016 Through November; 98.9% Muslim

By Patrick Goodenough | December 2, 2016 | 4:35am EST
Some 4.8 million Syrians have fled the civil war in their homeland since 2011, according to the U.N. refugee agency (AP Photo, File)

(CNSNews.com) – With one month of 2016 to go, the Obama administration has admitted a total of 14,172 Syrian refugees into the United States so far this calendar year, an increase of 625 percent over the same 11-month period in 2015.

Of the 14,172, 14,024 (98.9 percent) are Muslims – 13,872 Sunnis, 25 Shi’a, and 127 other Muslims – and 101 (0.71 percent) are Christians. Another 38 (0.26 percent) are Yazidis, eight refugees with religion given as “other,” and one with “no religion.”

The Christians comprised 25 Catholics, 21 Orthodox, five Protestant, four Jehovah’s Witnesses and 46 refugees self-described simply as “Christian” in State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

Of the 14,172 Syrian refugee arrivals this year, 3,547 (25 percent) are males between the ages of 14 and 50, and 3,216 (22.6 percent) are females aged 14-50. Another 6,849 (48.3 percent) are children under 14 – 3,525 boys and 3,324 girls.

Between January and November last year, 1,955 Syrian refugees were resettled in the U.S., of whom 1,913 (97.8 percent) were Muslims and 30 (1.53 percent) were Christians.


Last month’s intake of Syrian refugees – 962, of whom 906 were Sunni Muslims – was the smallest since April. It also included the largest proportion of Christians – 24 (2.49 percent) – of any month this year. The biggest previous Christian contingent was 21, in August.

Rounding out November’s figures were 14 Yazidis, one Shi’a Muslim, and 17 others described as Muslim, with no further description given.

The new fiscal year, now two months old, has seen 2,259 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. – 2,179 Muslims, 39 Christians and the 14 Yazidis.

That’s a 416.9 percent increase over the first two months of FY 2016, during which 437 Syrian refugees – 432 Sunnis and five Christians – were resettled.

In total, FY 2016 saw 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted, of whom 12,363 (98.2 percent) were Sunnis and 68 (0.5 percent) were Christians. Another 103 were other Muslims, 20 were Shi’a Muslims and 24 were Yazidis.

Syrians of all religious backgrounds have suffered in the civil war that has cost as estimated half a million lives and has triggered an exodus of 4.8 million people, along with some 8.7 million Syrians displaced inside the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and other governments have acknowledged that non-Muslim minorities, particularly Christians and Yazidis, have been singled out for persecution by at least some of the protagonists in the conflict – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) and other radical Islamist factions.

Since the civil war began in the spring of 2011, the U.S. government has admitted a total of 16,719 Syrian refugees, of whom 16,251 (97.2 percent) are Sunnis, 163 (0.97 percent) are Christians, and 39 (0.2 percent) are Yazidis.

By comparison, when the civil war began in early 2011 Sunni Muslims accounted for an estimated 74 percent of the Syrian population and Christians for an estimated 10 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook, which provides no figure for Yazidis.

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