Czech President Miloš Zeman has said
that Muslims can never be part of European society
Czech President Miloš Zeman claimed that it is almost impossible to integrate Muslims into European society. The 71-year-old is well known for his outspoken anti-immigration views.
"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, as quoted by AFP.
"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 mass sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated by immigrant men in the city on New Year's Eve.
"Integration is possible with cultures that are similar, and the similarities may vary," he said, pointing to Thai and Ukrainian communities in the Czech Republic as examples of successful integration.
Veteran left-winger Zeman is the first elected head of state in Czech history and has been an outspoken critic against immigration.
Last year, he attracted criticism after appearing at a rally of the far-right Pegida group in Prague, and earlier this month claimed that the influx of refugees and migrants into Europe was masterminded by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in a bid to control Europe.
More than one million migrants entered Europe in 2015, fleeing conflict and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East. Few stopped in central and eastern Europe and instead headed for northern European countries including Germany which have offered asylum to refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.
There are approximately 19 million Muslims living in the European Union, making up 3.8% of the total population, according to a 2010 survey by the Pew Forum.