Italy’s Northern League leader has said that “Islam is incompatible” with Italian values and vowed to close all “illegal Islamic centres” in the country.

Matteo Salvini, who became leader of the anti-migrant and anti-EU party in 2013, made his comments in Umbertide, an Umbrian town where a major new mosque is being built, on Thursday (8 February).

“The problem with Islam is that it is a law, not a religion,” he was reported to have declared by news agency ANSA. “In the name of a God it imposes a law, in my view incompatible with our values, rights and freedom.

“The fact is that in the literal interpretation of the Koran, which is not a text to be interpreted but considered the word of the prophet, women are worth less than men and Islamic law is worth more than Italian law,” he added.

He continued: “And therefore I don’t want people to come to Italy who believe women are worth less than men.”

Salvini has also vowed to shut down all “illegal Islamic centres”.

“With the League in government, we will close all illegal Islamic centres, and those that do not fulfil the key principles of transparency, legality, openness and acceptance of our values, starting from the respect of women,” he said on Tuesday (7 February).