The administration admitted a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees during the just-ended fiscal year, exceeding the target President Obama declared last fall by 2,587 (20.5 percent).
Of the 12,587, the vast majority are Sunni Muslims – 12,363 (98.2 percent) – while another 103 are identified in State Department Refugee Processing Center data simply as Muslims and a further 20 as Shi’a Muslims.
Sixty-eight of the 12,587 Syrian refugees (0.5 percent) are Christians. They comprise 16 Catholics, eight Orthodox, five Protestants, four Jehovah’s Witnesses, one Greek Orthodox, and 34 refugees self-identified simply as Christians.
The remainder of the Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. in FY 2016 are 24 Yazidis, eight refugees with religion given as “other,” and one with “no religion.”
The final month of the fiscal year followed the pattern of previous ones: 1,847 Syrian refugees were admitted, of whom 1,812 were Sunnis, 13 were other Muslims, 12 were Christians, seven were Yazidis, and three were “other” religion.
Throughout the year, the numbers of Christians and other religious minorities among the Syrians granted refugee status in the U.S. were dwarfed by those of Sunni Muslims.
Although the majority of Syrians are Sunnis, the number of Sunnis among the refugees was still disproportionately high, and the number of Christians disproportionately low, when compared to the overall population makeup.
When the conflict began in 2011, an estimated 10 percent of the Syrian population (1.5-1.7 million) was Christian and 74 percent was Sunni Muslim.
In contrast, Christians accounted for just half of one percent of the refugees resettled in the United States in FY 2016, while Sunnis accounted for 98.2 percent.
All segments of the Syrian population are affected by the devastating civil war, which has witnessed grave atrocities by minorities waged by the Sunni jihadists as well as sectarian-fueled bloodshed involving Sunnis, Shi’a (including Iranian and Hezbollah elements) and adherents of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect.
SOURCE: Patrick Goodenough