THE ARCHBISHOP of York has called for the UK to take in refugees from Iraq and Syria and prevent atrocities on a par with the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s.

Dr John Sentamu told the BBC's Sunday Morning Live programme that the British Government needed act quickly to help Christians and religious minorities being persecuted by Islamist State terrorists.

The archbishop, who has just finished a week of prayer and fasting, said he was in doubt about the severity of the situation and the threat Islamic State terrorists pose.

He said: "These are very ruthless people, and they have got to be stopped. It we don't stop them, there is going to be a genocide."

Referring to the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan, Dr Sentamu said that if the UK does take in refugees fleeing the violence, it risks being judged by history like the people who walked on by when an injured man lay bleeding on the road.

Britain should not lag behind countries like Australia, Canada and France in offering asylum to persecuted minorities, he added.