Survey: Alarming Portion of Syrian Immigrants in Europe Are Islamic State Sympathizers

As the United States moves forward in letting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country, a survey says that 13 percent of the Syrian refugees in Europe sympathize with the Islamic State.

The poll by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies surveyed 900 refugees in what it called “the largest public opinion poll conducted in the Arab region.”

Syrian families wait their turn to register at the UNHCR center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Wednesday, March. 6, 2013 (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Syrian families wait their turn to register at the UNHCR center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The survey also found that 10 percent of the displaced Syrian refugees have a mixed or lukewarm — but not entirely negative — view of the terror group. In response to the survey’s findings, Investors Business Daily pointed out, “That means 23% — or almost 1 in 4 — could be susceptible to ISIS recruitment.”

Asked about national security concerns over Syrian refugees, FBI Director James Comey told the House Judiciary Committee, “The only thing we can query is information that we have. And so if we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen, never been a ripple in the pond, there will be no record of them there. And so it will be challenging.”

And National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen added, “The intelligence picture we have of this particular conflict zone is not as rich as we would like it to be.”

About 70 percent of the Syrians that the United States is letting into the country area young men, which fits the profile of Islamic State terrorists, according to Investors Business Daily.

President Barack Obama directed the State Department to allow at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country. Whereas the United States has admitted 1,500 since 2011, European countries are facing a mass immigration from Syrian refugees. The State Department has said the screening process for allowing refugees into the country includes in-person interviews and medical exams and can take two years or longer to process.

Migrants can legally enter the United States only through referral from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR has requested $1,057 to care for each Syrian refugee. The United Nations reports a gap of $2.5 billion in funding needed for care of 4 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.