The president of the Czech Republic has claimed it is ‘impossible’ for Muslims to integrate into modern Europe.
Speaking on TV, President Milos Zeman also blamed the New Years Eve sex attacks in Cologne, Germany, on ‘Muslim culture’.
Zeman is known for his fiery anti-migrant comments and has previously accused refugees ‘with iPhones’ of exploiting their children to get asylum in the EU.
‘The experience of Western European countries which have ghettos and excluded localities shows that the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible,’ Zeman said in a televised interview Sunday.
‘Let them have their culture in their countries and not take it to Europe, otherwise it will end up like Cologne,’ he added, referring to the mass New Year’s Eve assaults on women in Germany and elsewhere.
‘Integration is possible with cultures that are similar, and the similarities may vary,’ pointing out that the Vietnamese and Ukrainian communities had been able to integrate into Czech society.
Zeman, a 71-year-old leftwinger and the first-ever directly elected president of the Czech Republic, has repeatedly spoken out against the surge of migrant and refugee arrivals in Europe.
Earlier this month, Zeman claimed the influx was masterminded by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood which uses money from several states to finance it in a bid to ‘gradually control Europe’.
It followed controversial statements accusing refugees and migrants of risking their children’s lives crossing the Mediterranean in order to use them to secure a right to remain in the EU.
‘They[children] serve as human shields for guys with iPhones to justify the wave of migrants,’ Zeman said in an interview with a Czech tabloid in November.
‘Those hiding behind the children … in my opinion, do not deserve any compassion. They bring the children over in rubber dingys, knowing they might drown.’
Late last year, Zeman called the surge in refugee numbers ‘an organised invasion,’ urging young men from Iraq and Syria to ‘take up arms’ against the Islamic State (IS) group instead of running away.
More than one million migrants reached Europe in 2015, most of them refugees fleeing war and violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
But few asylum seekers have chosen to stay in the largely secular Czech Republic, an EU and NATO member of 10.5 million people, with the majority heading to wealthier Germany and other western EU states.