The Archbishop of Canterbury warned against a rise in racist language in Britain amid a growing political debate over immigration.
“What we are seeing is an upsurge of minor racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, anti-foreigner xenophobic — not major things, just comments being made,” Justin Welby told journalists.
“The language we use must reflect the value of the human being and not treat immigration as a deep menace that is somehow going to overwhelm a country that has coped with many waves of immigration and has usually done so with enormous success.”
Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, said he was not referring to comments by any one individual.
It comes after Defense Secretary Michael Fallon was criticized for saying that some parts of the country felt “swamped” and “under siege” by immigrants in a weekend interview.
Fallon since said his comments had been careless.
The Conservative and Labour parties are under pressure to harden their stance towards immigration in response to the rise of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP).
UKIP, which advocates an exit from the EU in order to “regain control of our borders and immigration”, has risen to 19 percent support according to a ComRes poll published on Monday.