Ecumenical News International

Archbishop of Canterbury praises Germany's commitment to refugees

March 11, 2016

London (epd). The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, understands why some people are afraid of the effects of immigration. At the same time, he has praised Germany's commitment in an interview with the British parliamentary magazine "The House". There is a tendency to say "those people are racist", he said, but "that is outrageous. Fear is a valid emotion at a time of such colossal crisis." He understood very well that people were worried about the pressure on communities and services with so many immigrants.

Welby referred to fears about whether there will be enough housing and jobs, and whether access to the health system will still be guaranteed. It was important that "the fear was listened to and addressed". Welby also criticised the British government. Britain was doing "absolutely superb" humanitarian work in the camps surrounding Syria. But it should be willing to help refugees in Britain as well. "I was in Berlin and the churches there are doing the most extraordinary things, as are the German people," he told the press.

Persecuted Christians at a disadvantage

Germany had taken in 1.1 million refugees last year, he said. By comparison the British promise was "very slim". At the beginning of September, Conservative prime minister David Cameron had announced that Britain was willing to receive, 20,000 refugees over the next five years. However, only from camps at the Syrian border, not refugees who had already made it to Europe.

Welby criticises this decision. In a speech to the House of Lords last year he stated that it puts Christian refugees at a disadvantage, as they avoid these big camps in order to escape "significant intimidation and radicalisation". Welby also announced last year that he was willing to accommodate Syrian refugees at his official London residence, Lambeth Palace.



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