Anita Rani warns against UK intolerance to refugees as she visits Zaatari camp in Jordan


Countryfile presenter Anita Rani says she fears the West is becoming increasingly intolerant of refugees.

Shortly after taking part in Strictly Come Dancing last year, the TV presenter visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, on the border with Syria, which is now home to 80,000 people after opening four years ago.

Anita Rani at the Zaatari camp, now the fourth biggest

She jumped at the chance to visit because she was "sickened by some of the rhetoric used to describe fellow humans in their most extreme hour of need" by the media.

Writing about her experience in the Radio Times, she said: "I'm deeply concerned that we are increasingly unable to see beyond someone's colour or accent.

"The West is in danger of turning away from tolerance, from the progressive, forward-thinking countries that we pride ourselves on being.

"Instead we are becoming close-minded and extreme, all within living memory of the Second World War."

Anita Rani currently hosts Countryfile (Tom Dulat/BBC)

The TV presenter, who had made a BBC Two documentary about her visit, said she was "acutely aware" of how lucky she was to live in Britain, explaining her paternal grandfather was invited to move to England from India in the 1950s to work here.

Rani expressed surprise that hardly any of the refugees spoke of wanting to come to Europe, instead wishing to return to their homeland of Syria.

She called on the UK to show more "humanity and kindness" as the crisis worsened.

Anita visited the camp after finishing Strictly Come Dancing last year (Joe Giddens/PA)

She wrote: "At the moment Britain is living in a Brexit bubble, but we cannot ignore the most important story of our times ... Right now the world is in crisis and we are one of the best-placed countries to help."

Read the full story in this week's Radio Times, out now.