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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's 'heart is broken' by 'wicked' refugee crisis

"My heart is broken by the images and stories of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and persecution," he said.

Archbishop Justin released a statement as the world reacted to the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who's lifeless body washed up on the shore of Turkey.

He and his family were trying to escape Islamic State militants in Syria when the boat they were in collapsed.

"There are no easy answers," Archbishop Justin said. "My prayers are with those who find themselves fleeing persecution, as well as those who are struggling under immense pressure to develop an effective and equitable response."

He added: "Now, perhaps more than ever in post-war Europe, we need to commit to joint action across Europe, acknowledging our common responsibility and our common humanity.
"As Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), and to seek the peace and justice of our God, in our world, today."

Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Bishop of Paisley John Keenan told Premier's News Hour the UK has a duty to take in more people.

He described the situation as a "humanitarian crisis" and said "whoever" needs help should get it, regardless of faith or nationality.

After sharing the image of the Syrian boy the bishop said he had been inundated with replies.

"One person Tweeted to me, she said, I'm glad that this has been shown because this is the reality.

"This is the unprecedented humanitarian crisis of our times.

"She said, I hope this picture shocks people into a positive reaction."

Refugees pushed as they gather in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary

David Cameron said he was "deeply moved" by the shocking pictures - but refused to say whether Britain would increase the number of refugees it takes.

The Prime Minister promised that the UK would fulfil its "moral responsibilities" amid a backlash over handling of the migration crisis wracking Europe, but stopped short of making specific commitments.

The government has opted out of UN and EU schemes that could mean accepting tens of thousands of asylum seekers, instead taking smaller numbers and arguing that the focus should be on bringing "peace and stability" to the war-ravaged areas they are fleeing.

AP Photo/Petr David Josek
A refugee holding her child is detained in Bicske, Hungary

Archbishop Justin added a solution was needed before winter: "We must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly.

"I am encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs.

"These efforts may feel trivial in the face of the challenge, but if we all play our part this is a crisis that we can resolve."
"The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need, and Churches in the UK and across Europe have been meeting the need they are presented with.

AP Photo/Petr David Josek
A refugee is detained after the train they were travelling in from Budapest arrived in Bicske,

"I reaffirm our commitment to the principle of sanctuary for those who require our help and love. The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter and refuge, going back centuries - whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many more.
"It has always been controversial at the time it happened, always been seen as too difficult. Yet each time we have risen to the challenge and our country has been blessed by the result.

AP Photo/Petr David Josek
A migrant holding her child is detained in Bicske, Hungary

"We cannot turn our backs on this crisis. We must respond with compassion. But we must also not be naïve in claiming to have the answers to end it. It requires a pan-European response - which means a commitment to serious-minded diplomatic and political debate, but not at the expense of practical action that meets the immediate needs of those most in need of our help."

Bishop of Paisley John Keenan speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield on the News Hour:

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