Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said Islam "has never been part of Europe". The country faced widespread criticism after police tear gassed refugees trying to enter the country in September.
Speaking to German magazine Focus about the influx of immigrants into Europe, Orban said: "The language of the European elite is ideological and dogmatic. Islam has never been part of Europe, it came to us."
He conceded thousands of Turkish immigrants who arrived in Germany for work in the 1960s now "belong to German history and therefore Europe's too", reported AFP. "But spiritually, Islam was never part of Europe. It's the rulebook of another world," said Orban.
He criticised France and Germany for refusing to countenance "any doubts" over multiculturalism. "We in Hungary decide what we want or don't want. We don't want that," he said.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants, many fleeing conflict in Syria have entered Europe in 2015. Many have passed through Hungary on their way to wealthier western European countries, including Germany and Sweden.
But the prime minister repeated his claim that the majority of those entering Europe are economic immigrants. "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.
Hungary announced on 16 October that it would close its border with Croatia having completed a security fence. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said it was in response to a failure of the EU summit on 15 October to agree on measures to prevent immigrants entering Greece.
In September, there were violent clashes between Hungarian police. UN secretary-general Ban Ki- Moon criticised Hungarian authorities, describing the scenes as "shocking".