UK must offer asylum to terror refugees - Archbishop of York

Iraqi civilians in Amerli Image copyright AP

The Archbishop of York has urged the government to do more to offer asylum to Christians and others being persecuted by Islamic State terrorists.

He warned the "bloodthirsty" extremists could end up committing genocide as the conflict in Iraq and Syria intensifies.

The UK faces growing pressure to tackle the terror threat, following US air strikes on IS positions in the besieged Iraqi town of Amerli on Saturday.

New powers to stop would-be terrorists going abroad are to emerge on Monday.

David Cameron will outline the plans in a statement in the Commons, aimed at strengthening gaps in the UK's armoury.

Archbishop Sentamu told BBC One's Sunday Morning Live programme that he did not want to embarrass the prime minister, but he thought the UK needed to follow the lead of other countries and do more about asylum.

"Please act quickly, because we may end up with a Rwanda… where people are really killed in huge, huge numbers," he said.

Butchery and bullets

"They've already shown their capacity to be bloodthirsty. The beheading should tell us that they are a ruthless group of people, and somehow they've got to be stopped. And if you don't stop them, you may end up with a genocide."

Archbishop Sentamu said the world needed to show it would not stand for the IS extremists' butchery, bullets and beheading, which he said was doomed to failure.

He has been holding a week-long prayer vigil, praying on the hour every hour, from 06:00 to 18:00 BST.

The government has said it judges asylum on a case-by-case basis.

The UK has so far granted asylum to over 3,000 Syrians already in the UK, and to at least 50 of the refugees currently in camps in the Middle East after fleeing areas taken over by IS.

On Saturday, the prime minister warned that the threat posed by Islamist extremists was as much a concern for countries in mainland Europe as it was for the UK.

The IS has already seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

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