The Philippine President has likened his national crackdown on drug crime to the Holocaust, saying he would be "happy" to kill as many addicts as Hitler slaughtered Jews.
Rodrigo Duterte said he had been compared to a "cousin of Hitler" by critics during a press conference in southern Davao city on Friday. "Hitler massacred three million Jews... there's three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them," he said.
At least six million Jews and other minority groups are known to have been killed by the Nazis before and during the second world war.
Since taking up office in June, Mr Duterte has overseen a vicious anti-drug campaign in which more than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users are understood to have been killed by police operations or vigilantes. The bodies of those killed are often left in the streets with signs listing their crimes.
During his presidential campaign and short time in office Mr Duterte has threatened to drown drug suspects to fatten the fish in Manila Bay. He has also threatened to execute drug traffickers by hanging until their heads were severed from their bodies.
“You know my victims. I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” he said on Friday.
His comments have been described as "disgusting" and "baffling" by Jewish leaders, according to Reuters.
"Duterte owes the [Holocaust] victims an apology for his disgusting rhetoric," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The US-based Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League said the comments were "inappropriate and deeply offensive", adding: "It is baffling why any leader would want to model himself after such a monster."
Despite his shocking rhetoric, Mr Duterte remains popular in the Philippines, with high approval ratings and strong legislative support.
However, he has garnered a growing number of critics, including UN officials, the European Union and the United States, who have all voiced concern over the widespread killings and human rights violations.
He reacted on Friday, calling his EU critics a "group of idiots in the purest form", adding that European countries were hypocrites for not doing enough to help large numbers of refugees flee violence in the Middle East.
"There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and then you're worried about the deaths of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 [people in the Philippines]."
Earlier this month, Mr Duterte launched a scathing attack on US President Barack Obama, referring to him using a slang which translates, roughly, as “son of whore”.
When the European Parliament issued a statement condemning deaths in the country, Mr Duterte said, “F*** you” – and gave them the finger for good measure.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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