In defense of Hungary’s response to the surge in refugees trying to enter the country, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that his country does not want to take in large numbers of Muslims, according to Al Jazeera.
“I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country,” Orban told journalists outside the EU headquarters at Brussels.
“We do not like the consequences,” he said, referring to the Christian country’s 150-year history of Ottoman rule during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Orban said those fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria should not try to cross into Hungary, as he defended the country’s widely criticized decision to erect a fence along its border.
A fence on the border with Serbia is one of several measures under way to make it more difficult for refugees to enter and stay in Hungary. The government is also tightening asylum laws — introducing penalties for illegal border-crossing, and planning to close permanent refugee camps.
“Please don’t come… It’s risky to come. We can’t guarantee that you will be accepted,” Orban said in Brussels, adding that it would not be humane or morally right to “falsify” people’s dreams.
“We Hungarians are full of fear, people in Europe are full of fear because they see that the European leaders, among them the prime ministers, are not able to control the situation,” Orban said.
He made these comments as refugees who boarded a train bound for the Austrian border clashed with Hungarian police as they were forcefully unloaded and taken to a refugee camp.
Thousands of refugees had been sleeping rough outside the Budapest train station as police blocked them from entering for two days.
After they were eventually let in on Thursday morning, a packed train departed bound for Sopron, a town near the Austrian border.
About 50 riot police were lined up as a replacement train allowed non-refugee passengers to continue their journey, Reuters reported.