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TV discussion: Being concerned about immigration is not racist

17 minute discussion about Justin Welby's comments in the Parliamentary magazine, "The House." It is wrong to label people concerned about immigration as automatically racist.


Transmitted 11 March 2016. Posted 16 March 2016

On Friday 11 March one of the main stories in the news were the comments of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, during an interview in “The House” which is a Parliamentary magazine. The interview can be read on the website Politics Home.

The remarks which the media picked up on are copied below but I recommend reading the full interview for the context.

Welby accepts that, politically, the debate around refugees and migrants is deeply divisive, and says concerns about the pressure new arrivals could place on communities and services are entirely legitimate.

There is a tendency to say ‘those people are racist’, which is just outrageous, absolutely outrageous,” he says. “Fear is a valid emotion at a time of such colossal crisis. This is one of the greatest movements of people in human history. Just enormous. And to be anxious about that is very reasonable.

“In fragile communities particularly – and I’ve worked in many areas with very fragile communities over my time as a clergyman – there is a genuine fear: what happens about housing? What happens about jobs? What happens about access to health services? There is a genuine fear. And it is really important that that fear is listened to and addressed. There have to be resources put in place that address those fears.”

Islam Channel appearance

The Islam Channel has a daily news magazine “The Report.” On 11 March they had a 17 minute segment on this story which I took part in. It can be watched lower down on this page.

The presenter was John Rees and the participants in the discussion were:

  1. Mohammed Ansar, a political commentator
  2. Hector Marchetti from the Bow Group
  3. myself, appearing as Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum

During the programme I made the following points:

Due to the risk of distortion, I will not attempt to summarise the comments of the other program participants but recommend watching the video below.


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