Still Only 1 Christian: 382 of 383 Syrian Refugees Admitted Since Paris Attacks Are Muslims

By Patrick Goodenough | December 20, 2015 | 6:09 PM EST

Syrian refugees at a United Nations distribution centre in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. (Photo: UNHCR/J. Tanner, File)

(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration has admitted 383 Syrian refugees into the United States since the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, and just one (0.2 percent) is a Christian.

According to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center, 382 of the refugees admitted over that period are Muslims–374 Sunnis, three Shi’ites, and five described simply as “Moslem.”

Of the 383 total, 95 (24.8 percent) are men between the ages of 14 and 50. Eighty-eight (22.9 percent) are women 14-50, 92 (24 percent) are boys under 14; 89 (23.2 percent) are girls under 14; 10 (2.6 percent) are men older than 50 and nine (2.3 percent) are women over 50.

The sole Christian is an adherent of the Greek Orthodox Church. Syria’s Christian community accounts for an estimated 10 percent of the population.

The main denominations include Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox, Melkite Greek Catholic, Syriac Maronite, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Chaldean Catholic and Assyrian.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL), which controls territory in parts of Syria and Iraq, has targeted Christians along with other minorities.

“Throughout the region, Christians and members of some other religious minority communities have been targeted by ISIL for persecution – and in some cases genocide – because of their faith,” U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) chairman Robert George said early this month, calling on the State Department to prioritize Syrian refugee applicants who have been targeted for religious reasons.

George also acknowledged that ISIS “has also targeted both Shia and Sunni Muslims who have resisted their violent ideology.”

On Thursday, a State Department official confirmed in congressional testimony that the administration does not prioritize Christians among the Syrian refugees based on their religion, and that the department would not change the refugee program to “bring more of one particular religion than another.”

The Nov. 13 orchestrated terror attacks in Paris, claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) raised concerns about terrorists infiltrating Western societies by posing as refugees, as at least two of the Paris attackers did according to investigators.

Several Republican presidential candidates expressed opposition to the admission of more Syrian refugees and more than two dozen GOP governors then said they would refuse them entry into their states, a stance that drew sharp criticism from President Obama.

Last week, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) revealed that the intelligence community “has identified already individuals tied to terrorist organizations in Syria that want to exploit and get into the United States through the refugee process.”

Days later, Austrian media reported that two men suspected of links to the Paris attacks had been found in an Austrian transit camp posing as Syrian refugees. (The men were apparently not Syrians, but were traveling on fake Syrian passports.)

Holding crosses painted in the colors of the Syrian opposition flag, Syrian Christians protest persecution in their homeland (Photo: Shaam News Network)

So far this fiscal year: 99.1 percent Muslim

Obama plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees during fiscal year 2016, which began on October 1 and runs through September 30 next year.

As of Monday, the State Department admitted 674 of that 10,000 target. Of those, just six (0.9 percent) are Christians (three Catholics, one Orthodox, one Greek Orthodox and one simply described as “Christian.”)

The other 668 (99.1 percent) are Muslims–660 Sunnis, three Shi’ites, and five “Moslems.”

The 674 refugees from Syria admitted in FY2016 comprise 167 (24.7 percent) men aged between 14 and 50; 150 (22.2 percent) are women aged 14-50; 170 (25.2 percent) are boys under 14; 154 (22.8 percent) are girls under 14; 18 (2.6 percent) are men older than 50; and 15 (2.2 percent) are women over 50.

Of the 674 admissions in FY2016, 43 have been settled in Arizona, 83 in California, nine in Colorado, 22 in Connecticut, 59 in Florida, 10 in Georgia, one in Idaho, 38 in Illinois, 14 in Indiana, one in Kansas, 50 in Kentucky, six in Louisiana, nine in Maryland, seven in Massachusetts, 71 in Michigan, eight in Minnesota, eight in Missouri, five in Nevada, 18 in New Jersey, 11 in New York, 16 in North Carolina, 39 in Ohio, nine in Oregon, 53 in Pennsylvania, two in South Carolina, six in Tennessee, 56 in Texas, two in Virginia, 15 in Washington and three in Wisconsin.

Over the entire period of the Syrian civil war, which began with low-level anti-government protests in mid-March, the U.S. has admitted a total of 2,547 Syrian refugees, of whom 2,379 (93.4 percent) were Sunni Muslims. An additional 65 were “Moslem” and 16 were Shia.

Of the 2,547 total since March 2011, only 54 (2.1 percent) were Christian (five Orthodox, four Catholics, one Greek Orthodox, and 44 described simply as “Christian.”)

The remaining 33 Syrian refugees comprised eight Jehovah’s Witnesses, six Zoroastrians, three atheists, two Baha’i, one Yazidi, seven “no religion” and six “other religion.”

Of the total 2,547 Syrian refugees admitted since March 2011, 689 (27 percent) are men aged between 14 and 50.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow

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