People in Britain are in danger of becoming “too hysterical” as a “national culture of fear” develops about the threat posed by radicalised Muslims, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has warned.
Some radicalised young people are travelling to Syria but Welby said the number was “extraordinarily small”. He said differences between Christianity and Islam were no excuse for hostility.
In an interview on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, Welby said it was important to keep matters in proportion.
“Clearly there is an issue with people going to Syria and coming back highly radicalised. There is a problem with radicalisation. But the proportion of Muslims who are radicalised is extraordinarily small. I am just edgy about developing a national culture of fear because I don’t think that gets us anywhere.
“I think we are in danger of slipping into a very fearful culture in which we see everyone against us and us against everyone and we are constantly trying to defend ourselves. This country is much bigger than that, much better than that.”
Asked whether Britain was becoming too hysterical about the matter, Welby said: “We have been becoming too hysterical about this subject for some considerable period. It is a worry because we have huge differences with Islam – as Christians. But that is absolutely no reason for hostility. Quite the reverse.”
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