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Europe’s Syrian refugee crisis stirs controversy. Angelina Jolie and Pope Francis urge for compassion while Hungary builds a fence to keep refugees out.

As the civil war in Syria rages on, many religious leaders across Europe are welcoming the tens of thousands of refugees while imploring their governments to provide more assistance.

While some European nations are openly embracing the refugees, others are more cautious about flooding their borders with more Muslims from Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq.

Germany is leading the effort to accommodate the flood of refugees while urging fellow European countries to do the same. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, has vowed to accept all refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.

Speaking at St. Peter’s Square earlier this week, Pope Francis urged Catholics across Europe to take in at least one refugee family. While announcing the Vatican would take in two families, the pope told the crowd, “Mercy is the second name of love.”

Actress Angelina Jolie Pitt, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, pleaded, “We must face some hard truths. The first is that the responsibility to help is not determined by the accident of geography but by adherence to universal human rights and values. It transcends religion, culture and ethnicity.”

However, many countries are reluctant to do so fearing Europe is facing a Muslim invasion. The government of Hungary has built a fence along its southern border to keep Muslim refugees out although they have allowed select Christian refugees to enter.

Catholic Bishop Laslo Kiss-Rigo expressed concerns over the hordes of Muslims seeking refuge in Europe, saying, “They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’. They want to take over.”

The steady stream of refugees are said to be escaping the escalating civil war in Syria.  Bashar al-Assad, a Shia Muslim and the leader of Syria since 2000, has been attempting to crush the rebellion of Sunni Muslims which is the nation’s largest demographic.  The crackdown began in 2011 following the Arab Spring protests.

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