The current system of admitting refugees to the United States "unintentionally discriminates" against Christians — with Christians making up less than 3 percent of the Syrian refugees allowed into the country while 96 percent of those admitted are Muslim, government figures show.
Christian News Service,
citing new State Department figures
released Monday, reports that of the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States, only 53 are Christians while 2,098 are Muslim.
The remaining 33 include one Yazidi, eight Jehovah's Witnesses, two Baha'i, six Zoroastrians, six of "other religion," seven of "no religion," and three atheists, CNS reports.
By comparison, Syria's population in early 2011 – before the civil war and rise of ISIS that triggered a mass exodus
– was 90 percent Muslim and 10 percent Christian.
The State Department figures come as President Barack Obama termed "shameful"
the calls by some for
admitting only Christian Syrians into the country.
Arkansas Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, meanwhile, are calling for a moratorium on resettlements, a White House report on vetting procedures, and a re-evaluation of the refugee-referral process that relies on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
"The United States' reliance on the United Nations for referrals of Syrian refugees should also be re-evaluated," Arkansas Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman said in a statement.
"That reliance unintentionally discriminates against Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who are reluctant to register as refugees with the United Nations for fear of political and sectarian retribution."
"The American people have long demonstrated unmatched compassion for the world's persecuted and endangered," the senators add.
"But when bringing refugees to our shores, the U.S. government must put the security of Arkansans and all Americans first. No terrorist should be able to take advantage of the refugee process to threaten the United States."
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