Polish president Andrzej Duda has asked Church leaders in England to help protect Polish migrants from xenophobic violence and abuse.

He wrote to say that reports of serious attacks on migrants “have caused deep concerns to the Polish nation in general, and to myself in person”.

Such attacks included the murder of Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, who was beaten to death in Harlow last month.

Mr Duda urged Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, to do whatever they could at the parish level to prevent such violence.

In both letters, the president called for a “constructive effort” for local parishes “to alleviate the adverse consequences of intolerance and xenophobia, including what appears to be a clear instance of aversion and animosity toward Poles.

“I am sure Your Eminence will agree that it is of utmost importance that these incidents do not occur again, as they have a potential of creating a formidable ridge between the Polish and English people,” Mr Duda wrote in his letter to Cardinal Nichols. “This could, in turn, lead to the erosion of the local community, characterised by a genuinely positive presence of Poles in England,” he said, adding that Poles had made a huge contribution to the socio-economic condition of Britain. “Only through mutual understanding and consideration for one another can a thriving community be achieved,” he said.

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