A Cologne imam believes 521 victims of sexual assaults in the city on New Year’s Eve have themselves to blame for being half-naked and wearing perfume.

Sami Abu-Yusuf, a cleric at a Salafist mosque in Cologne, spoke to Russian channel REN TV to explain why the unprecedented assaults happened. Abu-Yusuf said “it is not surprising the men wanted to attack them” because of their appearance.

“If they walk half-naked and use perfume, then things will happen,” Abu-Yusuf said. “A man, a woman…it’s like a splash of oil into the fire.”

Abu-Yusuf also criticized the public’s strong reaction to the assaults by saying people “need to react properly, and not add fuel to the fire.”

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