Christians Need Not Apply: Few Syrian Christian Refugees Allowed into US
Posted by addisethiopia on August 31, 2016
The Obama administration has surpassed its goal of receiving 10,000 Syrian refugees by Oct. 1, but very few of the new arrivals are Christian.
The official count for the fiscal year reached 10,126 resettled Syrians when 224 refugees arrived Monday. They are among 12,000 Syrian refugees interviewed earlier this year in Jordan by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Although 1 million Christians have fled Syria, Christians comprise only 0.51 percent of the refugee total. More than 98 percent of those allowed into the United States this fiscal year are Sunni Muslims, the largest Islamic sect in Syria comprising 74 percent of that population.
Some Christians believe the Syrian Christian immigration numbers should be much higher; the percentage of those allowed into the United States should reflect their percentage of the population in Syria.
Last September, President Obama pledged to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to enter the United States. He set a goal of 10,000, six times the number of those allowed to enter the U.S. in FY 2015 when a total of 1682 were admitted – that compared to only 105 Syrian refugees admitted in FY 2014.
Although Christians are 10 percent of the Syrian population, only 100 Syrian Christian refugees have been allowed to enter the United States since the start of the civil war more than five years ago.
Why so few Christians?
Earlier this year some of the Republican presidential candidates–Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump said greater immigration priority should be given to Syrian Christians over Muslims.
President Obama has argued there should be no religious litmus test for admitting Syrian refugees. He said such a policy would be un-American.
“When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians, should be admitted, that’s offensive and contrary to American values,” the president said.
Last March, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that atrocities committed by the Islamic State against Yazidis, Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria constituted genocide.
But so far, the genocide declaration has not changed the number of affected minorities allowed into the United States. In addition to receiving only 52 Christians this fiscal year, the government has only admitted 14 Yazidis and 20 Shi’a Muslims into the country (official figures released before the Monday arrivals).
The Obama administration has yet to announce its goal for next year, but immigration observers expect the number to be set at 20,000. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she’d like to see the number increased to 65,000.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says that would amount to a 500 percent increase in Syrian refugees admitted into the country. He has called it a “bigger version of the legendary Trojan Horse.”
He and other Republicans say the government lacks a thorough vetting program for the refugees and the current process exposes the people of the U.S. to the possibility of more Islamic terror attacks like those that occurred in San Bernardino and Orlando.
Why We Don’t See More Christian Refugees
How Mullah Obola Al-Baraki approved agency chooses nearly all Sunni Muslims
The year was 2007, and the late Father Keith Roderick of Christian Solidarity and I had formed a fact-finding mission to Lebanon and Iraq to investigate the condition of Christians who were fleeing Iraq after the United States had overthrown Saddam Hussein and the nation had deteriorated into a state of chaos. As part of the delegation, we recruited Gov. David Beasley, R-S.C., and investigative journalist Ken Timmerman. What we found was shocking.
The acting American ambassador to Jordan at the time, David Hale, had zero interest in the plight of Christians, as his main personal agenda was “gay rights.” He actually wanted those of us on the fact-finding team to have a picture taken with him in the Embassy in front of his wall tapestry, which was in reality a rainbow flag – not the American flag.
It was disturbing to hear him and his staff talk about the Christians. When we asked if anyone on staff had contacted any churches about the plight of the Iraqi Christians, we were told, “It isn’t our job to go to church.” For some reason, gays in the State Department are attracted to Muslim nations. Hale is currently the American ambassador to Pakistan, having been appointed by President Obama.
Jordanian guards had been hired by Hale, presumably with the permission of the State Department, to form a primary perimeter around the U.S. Embassy. Any Iraqi citizen who approached was told verbally to go to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) office in Amman. There were no exceptions, not even for those who had relatives in the United States who would sponsor them, nor for those who had worked with the United States military in Iraq and were thus endangered.
Because the vast majority of Jordanians are Sunni Muslims, the entire staff of the UNHCR dealing with refugees was and still is Sunni Muslim. The female staffers of the UNHCR work in hijabs, and of course everyone on the UNHCR staff can recognize the Christian surnames of some applicants. The Christian applicants have been treated accordingly. Many Christian refugees were forced to flee to Jordan with their families because they had worked for the United States military in Iraq.
As the occupation force downsized and contractors also departed, Christians who had worked for them found themselves not only out of work but targets of Sunni terrorists as well.
As I write about the mission nine years later, I recall some of the testimonies that were given me by Iraqi Christians about how the middle-class lives they once had in Iraq crumbled as law and order vanished. One that still rattles my brain is the weeping of a mother whose daughter was kidnapped when the family refused to give her in marriage to a Muslim who had moved into the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad. The girl was kidnapped and $100,000 demanded.
The family sold most of what they had and paid the money only to find the 16-year-old dumped at their doorstep with a cut throat the next morning. The kidnappers called the family to taunt them by saying they killed her to break the hearts of Christians. The Dora neighborhood had 30,000 Christians before the 2003 invasion and by 2008 had virtually no Christians left. Of the 1.3 million pre-war Christians in Iraq, perhaps 400,000 remain. Virtually none made it to America.
Today the Obama administration still relies on the UNHCR to “vet” refugees.
On Aug. 29, President Barack Obama reached his goal of 10,000 Syrian “refugees” almost all of whom are Sunni Muslims chosen by the United Nations. Patrick Goodenough of CNS News, who has dogged this story, reported that with the arrival of 224 new Syrian refugee this week brings “… the total this fiscal year to 10,126, of whom 52 or 0.51 percent are Christians; and 9,945 or 98.2 percent, are Sunni Muslims.”
Just one-half of 1 percent of the 10,000 Syrians were Christians despite the fact that over 10 percent of the Syrian population is Christian. The Sunni population at about 60 percent should not represent 98.2 percent of refugees. However, almost all of those working for the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees in Jordan, where the “refugees” were chosen, are Sunni Muslims.
At the same time Christians victims are ignored by President Obama and the media. The “mainstream” media fail to report true horror surrounding the persecution of Christians. Christians have faced the that the Islamic State has to offer – crucifixions, beheadings, gang rapes, sex slavery, beatings and robbery – but it is rare that the mainstream media report this fact to the public.
When news articles do appear they are watered down. On Aug. 10, this year, an Associated Press article appeared by Balint Szanko titled “Christians say defeating Islamic State won’t make Iraq safe for them.” Although the reporter refers to the eviction of the Christians from Qaraqosh on the Nineveh Plain and their lives now in Ankawa in the Kurdish area, the full terror they endured is not reported.
Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. The vice president of Iraq was a Christian, as was the head of Saddam Hussein’s air force at the time of the First Gulf War, Georges Sada. He was retired before the Second Gulf War, but sided with the opposition to Saddam and as a result became the national security adviser in the new government the United States established. Sada is alive today and living in the United States, and I have had the opportunity to speak with him often about Iraq and the two wars.
Because of the size of the Christian population and the fact that Iraq had a secular government, Christians fared better than in most majority-Muslim nations. That does not mean they were treated equally. For example, all given names on birth certificates had to be names that appeared in the Quran, so no Christian first names were allowed.
The thrust of Szanko’s article was that 90 percent of the Christians in one of the camps would leave “if organized migration was possible.” What the article does not mention is that most Christians forced from their homes are not in U.N. camps. They are “urban refugees” often living in slum basements for fear of persecution in the U.N.-run camps. As a result they are not considered refugees and are not registered with the United Nations. Since the Obama administration only accepts refugees referred by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, there is no possible way for most Christians to immigrate to the USA.