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Obama Administration Discriminates Against Syrians -- If They're Christians
By Patrick Poole

Hundreds of Assyrian families, some of them recently arrived from Islamic State controlled areas of Syria, attend Easter Sunday service at St. Georges Assyrian Church of The East in Sed El Baouchrieh, a working class suburb of Beirut.
Non-Muslim Syrian refugees have been virtually locked out by the Obama administration, according to current data from the State Department.

According to the Refugee Processing Center, of the 6,877 Syrian refugees that have arrived in 2016 through July 31st, 6,834 of those are identified as Sunni, Shia, or generic Muslim. Only 43 (0.7 percent of total) refugees admitted have been non-Muslim.

That 0.7 percent of refugees arriving this year represents a statistically insignificant fraction of the more than 2.6 million Catholic, Syriac, Assyrian, and Greek Orthodox Christians, as well as Yazidis, other religions, and atheists living in Syria.

Yet all of these groups are being targeted by Islamic extremists -- indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry himself has claimed these groups are facing a genocide.

Just yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he is opposed to any religious test for entering the United States "A religious test for entering our country is not reflective of America's fundamental values. I reject it."

Despite Ryan's rejection, the State Department's own numbers reveal active discrimination targeting non-Muslim Syrian refugees.

According to The Gulf/2000 Project at Columbia University, the religious breakdown of the Syrian population 2008-2009 shows that 15.98 million are Sunnis (73 percent of the population) while 3.29 million are Shiites (14.7 percent of the population). Christians account for 2.04 million people, or 9.3 percent of the population, while other religions account for 590,000 people, or 2.7 percent of the population.

This past March, Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged at a State Department press conference that minority religious communities in Syria were being targeted for genocide:

My purpose here today is to assert in my judgment, (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Muslims. So why haven't we heard Speaker Ryan's outrage over active religious discrimination against non-Muslim minority Syrian refugees?

And why is Kerry overseeing the systematic religious discrimination of Syrian refugees in his own State Department?

I've witnessed this discrimination by the State Department against Mideast Christians first-hand. Two years ago, I was introduced to an Egyptian Coptic Christian man who had fled Egypt and made it to the U.S. after he was threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood following the July 2013 ouster of Mohamed Morsi. The introduction was made by my friend, Father Anthony Hanna of the St. Mary and St. Mina Coptic Church in Concord, California. In August 2013, he escorted me into Upper Egypt to survey the destruction of Egypt's churches and monasteries carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood.

This man's wife and children had been attacked in their village near Minya, where attacks against Christians continue to this day. They were in hiding with family members elsewhere in Egypt, and had hoped to visit their husband and father in the United States.

With the assistance of several members of Congress who had given the family members letters of support, the family applied to visas with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

And yet, the State Department denied their visa requests.


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