Archbishop of Canterbury supports 'our Muslim brothers and sisters'

Archbishop of Canterbury in Birmingham

The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed solidarity with British Muslims who have felt pressured to defend themselves in the wake of recent terror attacks.

Justin Welby also called on Christians to take the "risk of kindness" and engage with people whom others seem to be avoiding.

Posting the message on his official Facebook page days before Christmas, the archbishop said the year had been hard for many people in the country.

He added: "This year has been an extremely tough one for so many people and communities in this country. In particular I think of our Muslim brothers and sisters who've felt pressured to defend themselves in the wake of horrendous attacks carried out so outrageously in their name.

"I think too of the fear among Jewish communities, and among Sikhs, Hindus and those of other faiths.

"No one in this country should have to feel fear and anxiety as they try peacefully to live, pray and worship in their faith tradition. All who feel that fear will be included in my prayers this Christmas."

The archbishop also said that Christmas is a time to offer love to those who might be feeling like they are on the margins.

"That could be inviting your neighbour around for dinner or a cup of tea. It could be striking up that conversation in the school playground.

"It could be simply sitting next to that person on the bus who others seem nervous about sitting with. Try it - take the risk, see what happens," he continued.