Welby warns offering asylum to Christians could 'drain' Middle East of 2,000-year-old communities
Archbishop of Canterbury says UK must press for safe havens for Christians and other religious minorities from Iraq and Syria
Offering asylum in Britain to Christians fleeing the forces of the so-called Islamic State risks "draining" the Middle East of communities which have been there since the time of St Paul, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said while the UK has a "humanitarian duty of hospitality and welcome" in extreme cases, it should use its international influence to press for the creation of safe havens in the region as a priority.
He was speaking ahead of an emergency discussion of the Church of Englandís General Synod in London about the threat to Christians, Yazidis and Muslim minority groups in the Iraq and Syria.
Among those speaking is Fuad Nahdi, the first Muslim ever to address the Churchís ruling assembly.
The Synod has already heard calls for Anglican congregations to sponsor asylum applications for Christians fleeing violence and potential genocide in their homelands.
It follows cross-party calls from politicians for the UK to follow the example of France and offer refuge to persecuted Christians.
But Archbishop Welby said Britain should be wary of any action which could ultimately empty the region where Christianity was born of Christians.
"There is a huge debate going on, not least amongst the Christian communities in the Middle East, in fact principally among them, about what they actually want to happen," he said.
"We had a gathering of Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox at Lambeth [Palace] in the beginning of September, one of the bishops who had just come from a town under siege from Isis, his family were still there, said 'please, please don't offer asylum, enough of us have left already'.
"But on the other hand others say we really need it in extreme circumstances.
"I don't think there's a straightforward simple answer.
"I think there is an answer that says we need to do more where there is really no choice but we also need to be deeply committed to enabling solutions to be found enabling communities that have been there for 2,000 years to remain there.
"These are not Johnny-come-latelies, they have got more history of being there than we have, most of us, of being in this country."
Pressed on what, if anything, the international community could achieve in the area, other than offering asylum, he said: "The international community can do quite a lot and the British Government has quite a lot of influence in the international community in terms of influence with governments in the region, of encouraging policies that create safe areas.
"There are things that can be done and it is better than simply draining the entire region of Christians who have been there since the time of St Paul."
The Archbishop is right but giving asylum to MUSLIMS here will mean revolution or partition in the end, as India has learnt at her cost.
Muslims are a two edged sword created by Mohammed to finish off the free world.