Still Just One Christian: 275 of 276 Syrian Refugees Admitted Since Paris Attacks Are Muslims

By Patrick Goodenough | December 14, 2015 | 11:16pm EST
The Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan. (Photo: UNHCR/A.McDonnell)

(CNSNews.com) – Since the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 276 Syrian refugees into the United States – 270 Sunni Muslims (97.8 percent), five (1.8 percent) described merely as “Moslem,” and one Christian (0.3 percent), according to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center.

The Christian, a Greek Orthodox, is the only non-Muslim among the 276 Syrian refugees admitted since the deadly attacks just over a month ago.

Of the 276, 140 are male, 136 are female; 71 (25.7 percent) are men between the ages of 14 and 50, while 64 (23.1 percent) are women across that age group.

Another 127 (46 percent) are children aged under 14, of whom 63 are boys and 64 are girls.

The attack in Paris, which was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL), stoked fresh fears that terrorists may be entering Western nations posing as refugees – as occurred in the case of at least two of the Paris terrorists, according to police investigators.

That prompted a contentious debate over the admission of Syrian refugees into the U.S., where President Obama plans to resettle 10,000 during fiscal year 2016.

Of that target figure, 567 Syrian refugees have as of Monday been admitted since FY2016 began on October 1.

They comprise 556 (98 percent) Sunni Muslims, five “Moslems,” and six Christians – three Catholics, one Orthodox, one Greek Orthodox and one simply described as “Christian.”

(Muslims in Syria defined at neither Sunni nor Shia include groups viewed by the mainstream sects as heretical or deviant, such as Allawites and Ismailis.)

According to Refugee Processing Center data, 143 of the 567 (25.2 percent) admitted since Oct. 1 are men aged between 14 and 50; 126 (22.2 percent) are women aged 14-50; 270 (47.6 percent) are children, of whom 141 are boys and 129 are girls; and 28 (4.9 percent) are older than 50, of whom 14 are men and 14 are women.

Since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, a total of 2,440 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the U.S.  Of those, 2,275 (93.2 percent) were Sunni Muslims, an additional 65 were “Moslem” and 13 were Shia.

Only 54 (2.2 percent) were Christian (including five Orthodox, four Catholics and one Greek Orthodox). In contrast, an estimated 10 percent of the Syrian population are Christians.

The remaining religious breakdown of Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. since the start of the conflict is eight Jehovah’s Witnesses, six Zoroastrians, three atheists, two Baha’i, one Yazidi, seven “no religion” and six “other religion.”

Of the total 2,440 Syrian refugees admitted since March 2011, 665 (27.2 percent) are men aged between 14 and 50.

Meanwhile, lawmakers concerned about Obama’s refugee settlement policies want to curtail his powers.

On Friday, Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), chairmen of subcommittees on the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary Committees, called for language to be included in the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill withholding funding for refugee resettlement until Congress – in a joint resolution – authorizes refugee resettlement, and ends the president’s unilateral power to decide on the matter.

“Congress must cancel the president’s blank refugee check and put Congress back in charge of the program,” they said in a statement. “We cannot allow the president to unilaterally decide how many refugees he wishes to admit, nor continue to force taxpayers to pick up the tab for the tens of billions of unpaid-for welfare and entitlement costs.”

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