BERLIN: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban defended his hardline stance against refugees, the vast majority of whom are Muslim, saying in an interview published Friday that Islam “has never been part of Europe”.
Speaking to Germany’s Focus news weekly about the record migrant influx, he said “the language of the European elite is ideological and dogmatic”.
“Islam has never been part of Europe, it came to us,” Orban told Focus in an interview to be published in full Saturday.
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He conceded that Germany’s Turkish migrants, who arrived in their tens of thousands from the 1960s for work, now “belong to German history and therefore Europe’s too”.
“But spiritually, Islam was never part of Europe. It’s the rulebook of another world,” said Orban.
He also hit out at France and Germany for refusing to countenance “any doubts” over a multicultural society.
“We in Hungary decide what we want or don’t want. We don’t want that,” he said.
Almost 600,000 people have arrived in Europe so far this year, with many of them heading for Germany and Sweden.
Read: Hungary PM rejects Merkel’s ‘moral imperialism’ in refugee crisis
Orban asserted that most asylum seekers arriving in Europe are actually economic migrants.
“Not everyone is entitled to a life in Germany or a life in Hungary. That’s only for those who have worked for it,” he said.
In the face of a historic surge in migrant arrivals, Hungary in September sealed its border with Serbia. On Thursday, it announced it had also completed a fence along the Croatian border.
Hungary’s use of fences and its treatment of migrants – including serious clashes on September 16 between police and migrants – has been sharply criticised, including by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.