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The Scotsman at http://www.scotsman.com

Thu 31 Mar 2005

Archbishop Warns Against Asylum Anxiety 'Racism'

By James Lyons and Gavin Cordon, PA

Creating anxiety over immigration is racist, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said tonight.

Conservative posters put up around the country declare: “It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration.”

Leader Michael Howard has stressed his immigrant background as he has pressed home that point.

But asked if controlling immigration is racist, Dr Williams told tonight’s BBC2’s Newsnight: “It’s racist to whip up the kind of anxiety that can be so easily generated on this subject.

“That will always present asylum seekers, for example, as a menace, as an uncontrollable menace.”

Mr Howard has called for Parliament to impose an annual limit on the number of people allowed into the country.

Fear is a “button that can be pushed”, the Archbishop told Newsnight.

“It’s something that’s an easy thing to reach for.

“There’s bound to be some apprehension if people feel that all the things they care for are under threat and this is a convenient scapegoat very often.

“But in fact we have quite a good record of integrating people.

“We have people with skills coming in. So I think that’s an issue we have to move on from.”

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