There are approximately 2.2 million Syrian Christians, yet only 56 have entered the U.S. under the Obama administration’s refugee initiative.
The U.S. has accepted 10,801 Syrian refugees, 56 of whom are Christian, or one half of one percent of all Syrians admitted. The BBC has reported that Syrian Christians make up 10 percent of all Christians, making the ratio of Muslim to Christian Syrian refugees entering the U.S. not even close to an accurate reflection of the country’s population.
“This is de facto discrimination and a gross injustice,” said Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, to Fox News Sept. 2.
In Defense of Christians (IDC), a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of Christians in the Middle East, has said the shocking lack of Christians accepted into the U.S. is due to the almost purely Muslim makeup of the United Nations refugee camps, which refer refugees for resettlement to the U.S.
“The Christians don’t reside in those camps because it is too dangerous.” Shea told Fox. “They are preyed upon by other residents from the Sunni community and there is infiltration by ISIS and criminal gangs.”
Shea noted that any Christian in the camps risks being raped, abducted for ransom or sold into slavery.
“In effect we make it almost impossible for Christian refugees to get here,” noted Elliott Abrams, former deputy national security adviser to the George W. Bush administration and current Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) senior fellow, wrote in CFR’s Pressure Points blog Friday.
“ISIS continues to target Christians and other religious minorities each and every day. The situation is dire,” Sen. Tom Cotton, who has put forward legislation to alleviate the inequality faced by Syrian Christians, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We cannot stand idly by and allow such religious persecution to continue.”
The Religious Persecution Relief Act would “grant religious minorities fleeing persecution at the hands of ISIS and other groups in Syria priority status so they can apply directly to the U.S. resettlement program.” Additionally, 10,000 resettlement slots each year would be specially designated to Syrian religious minorities. Cotton’s staff is currently soliciting additional co-sponsors and hopes to eventually receive a vote on the legislation soon, a Cotton spokesperson told TheDCNF.
“IDC believes that the United States must help protect and preserve the right of religious minorities including Christians to remain in their ancient homeland as well as provide asylum through the refugee resettlement process to vulnerable communities targeted for persecution, atrocities, or genocide,” said IDC’s Executive Director Kirsten Evans in a press release after Cotton introduced his bill.
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