Hungary's controversially right-wing prime minister has declared that 'Christianity is Europe's last hope' after accusing politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris of ushering in the 'decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam'.
During his annual state of the nation speech, Viktor Orban called yesterday for a global alliance against migration as his populist Fidesz party began campaigning for an April 8 election in which it is expected to win a third consecutive landslide victory.
Orban said his government will oppose efforts by the United Nations or the European Union to 'increase migration' around the world.
And he claimed that Islam would soon 'knock on Central Europe's door' from both the west and the south.
In a populist rallying cry, Orban insisted that Western Europe is being overtaken by Muslims, before claiming that 'born Germans are being forced back from most large German cities, as migrants always occupy big cities first'.
The politician, who has been prime minister since 2010, is popular in Hungary but is increasingly at odds with mainstream European Union politicians and appears to thrive on controversy, including repeated clashes with Brussels.
Orban told an audience at the Royal Castle in Budapest: 'Christianity is Europe's last hope. Our worst nightmares can come true. The West falls as it fails to see Europe being overrun.'
Domestically, Orban is popular partly because he is widely credited with reversing an economic slump in Hungary and controlling its public finances.
But internationally the 54-year-old is known to pick fights with EU partners, especially in the West.
In his controversial speech, Orban said that Europe faces a divide between nations of the East and the West, which he called an 'immigrant zone, a mixed population world that heads in a direction different from ours'.
And he went on to claim that the West wants eastern Europe to follow its lead, which could trigger an increasingly vicious struggle.
'Absurd as it may sound the danger we face comes from the West, from politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris,' Orban said to loud applause. 'Of course we will fight, and use ever stronger legal tools. The first is our "Stop Soros" law.'
This was a reference to the Hungarian-born US financier George Soros, whose philanthropy is seen as aimed at backing liberal and open-border values.
The right-wing Hungarian leader, who has been accused of being racist, advocated 'ethnic homogeneity' and compared Soros, a Jew, to a puppet master unleashing immigration onto Europe to undermine its cultural and economic integrity.
In turn, Soros has compared Orban to both the Nazis and the Communists, saying his rule evoked images from the 1930's, when Hungary was allied with Nazi Germany.
During the international migrant crisis, Orban ordered a double razor wire fence to be built to keep people out of Hungary.
Orban also accused the Hungarian opposition of being on the wrong side of history when it opposed his toughness on migrants.
Orban said: 'Soros has antagonised not only us but also England, President Trump and Israel too. Everywhere he wants to get migration accepted. It won't work. We are not alone and we will fight together and we will succeed.'
Meanwhile, he cited Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland as allies.
The speech echoes the message of other right-wingers.
In 2016, Christian Today reported on how an American cardinal said that Islam 'wants to govern the world' and is not like other religions such as Christianity and Judaism.
Cardinal Raymond Burke said made controversial remarks to the Religion News Service to promote his book, Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ, an extended interview with a French journalist. The cardinal said that Islam is 'fundamentally a form of government' and that Americans must reassert 'the Christian origin of our own nation'.
The cardinal, who is a canon lawyer and was head of the Vatican's court system before Pope Francis named him chaplain of the Knights of Malta, controversially claimed that in some European cities with Muslim populations 'there are little Muslim states' that are effectively 'no-go zones' for government authorities. He added: 'This is the way things are to go... And if you do understand that and you are not at peace with the idea of being forcibly under an Islamic government, then you have reason to be afraid.'
Asked how the West should respond, he said: 'I think the appropriate response is to be firm about the Christian origin of our own nation, and certainly in Europe, and the Christian foundations of the government, and to fortify those... We have to say no, our country is not free to become a Muslim state.'