The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, headed a list of well over 200 faith leaders issuing an open letter to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, urging greater compassion to refugees fleeing scenes of war and devastation. The letter includes an appeal to reunite families torn apart by the refugee crisis.
Under the present immigration rules, a British doctor of Syrian origin could not bring her parents from a refugee camp in Lebanon – even though they were refugees and she could support and house them. A Syrian child who arrived alone in the UK could not bring his parents from a refugee camp in Jordan – even if the child were recognised a refugee and even though his parents were themselves refugees. Families in these situations can currently be reunited only by resorting to desperately unsafe irregular journeys, sometimes ending in avoidable tragedies.
The letter stresses the breadth of support for aid to refugees across religious lines, citing an Amnesty International survey finding that 83% of Britons would welcome refugees into their neighborhoods and even their households.
We are leaders from Britain’s major faiths: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian. All our faiths compel us to affirm the dignity of all human beings and to offer help to anyone in need. As people of faith, we call on your Government urgently to revise its policy towards refugees.
Dr Williams was joined by Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church David Chillingworth, and the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, in signing the open letter.