Donald Trump's plan to force American Muslims to register on a database is "an objectionable suggestion," the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said today.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of Catholic bishops in England and Wales, spoke at a press conference this afternoon and condemned the recent suggestion by the frontrunning Republican presidential candidate.
"I think we have to keep in the forefront our our minds that we first must respect the human dignity of people especially people in desperate need," said the 70-year-old cardinal. "To pick out a single group of people and say they must be registered as potential suspects I think is to set out on the wrong track.
"Its an objectionable suggestion that people because of their religious affiliation are treated any differently to anyone else."
Nichols was reporting on the resolutions of the autumn meeting of Catholic bishops in England and Wales and focused much attention on the refugee crisis, criticising another presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, and others who advocate a 'Christian-only' refugee policy.
"The generosity of the Catholic Church has never been limited to Catholics but offered to everyone," he said.
"The majority of refugees are victims not perpetrators of violence," he pointed out. "We should not cast the mischief made by a tiny number of people across the shoulders of people who are desperate and themselves victims of terrible violence."
Having just come from a meeting at Lambeth Palace with leaders of the Islamic, Jewish and Anglican faiths, Nichols stressed the importance of different faiths "standing together to support the Muslim community in their vulnerability."
However he joined a growing chorus of Christian leaders pointing out the government's refugee programme unintentionally discriminates against Christians.
"There is a concern that under the vulnerable persons relocation scheme very few, if any, Christian families will be included," said Nichols.
"This is not intentional but we have tried to alert the government that this is likely to happen. One of the reasons this happens is that this is a UN scheme operated through UNHCR camps.
"On the whole Christian refugees are accommodated by Christian initiatives, not in those camps. On the whole in the UNHCR camps there is a majority of Muslims and they are under the management of Muslims," the cardinal explained.
"An accidental consequence [of the scheme] might be that very few Christian families are given the opportunity."
His comments come after recent statistics from the US state department's refugee processing centre revealed that over 96 per cent of Syrian refugees accepted into America since that start of the conflict in 2011 are Muslim.
Only two per cent are Christian, the figures revealed.
As well as criticising this accidental discrimination, Nichols also said the government's offer to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020 was "too few."
"There is a readiness in this country to accept more," he said. "On our part and on the Church of England's part, concrete offers are on the table."