ICC Note: As countries like the UK debate how to deal with the refugee crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that their policy will discriminate against Christians. The policy takes those who are in camps, but many Christians fearing discrimination, violence, and intimidation have not been willing to enter formal camps that are largely populated by Sunni Muslims. The result, the Archbishop said is that these policies end up cutting Christians off from opportunities to find refuge.
09/13/2015 Syria (Christian Today) The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the Prime Minister that his policy on refugees is discriminating against Christians in Syria, according to the Telegraph.
The government’s policy is to take around 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps in the region. However, at a meeting with David Cameron last week, Most Rev Justin Welby is believed to have told him that this risks excluding almost all Christians from the asylum programme. This is because Christians have avoided going to the camps because they are afraid of being targeted by Islamist groups operating inside them.
While the government is commited to taking refugees on the basis of need and will not formally discriminate on the basis of religion, the Archbishop is concerned that the effect of this policy will be to bar Syrian Christians from Britain.
In a speech in the House of Lords last week, Welby said that “within the camps there is significant intimidation and radicalisation, and many particularly of the Christian population who have been forced to flee are unable to be in the camps”.
He went on: “What is the Government’s policy of reaching out to those who are not actually in the camps?”
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey made a similar point, writing in the Telegraph: “The frustration for those of us who have been calling for compassion for Syrian victims for many months is that the Christian community is yet again left at the bottom of the heap.