The United States is already 15% over its target of allowing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country for the fiscal year 2016. There are still three weeks left to go and, as of the beginning of the week, 11,491 Syrians have been resettled in America.
However, of those allowed in, just 58 are Christians, amounting to 0.46%.
- 14 Catholics
- 6 Orthodox
- 4 Protestants
- 1 Greek Orthodox
- 29 undefined
- 4 Jehovah’s Witnesses
This is a shockingly low number, especially given the persecution faced by Christians across the Middle East and North Africa. The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and other jihadist groups deliberately target Christians forcing them to pay the jizya (a subjugation tax), convert to Islam or die.
In March, the U.S. State Department declared that the campaign of ISIS against the Christians constitutes genocide.
Yet 98% of those allowed into the country were Sunni Muslims.
The Yazidis, who have also faced a concerted campaign to eradicate them by the Islamic State, have also not been allowed entry en masse into the United States. Only 18 Yazidis have been allowed in this year.
If the U.S. is only allowing limited numbers of refugees into the country, why not prioritize those from the most vulnerable groups, namely Christians, Yazidis and other minorities?
If the U.S. agrees that the actions of ISIS against the Christians of Syria and Iraq constitute genocide, surely they have a moral obligation to act to try and save them.
Otherwise the classification is mere empty words.
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.