It’s no secret that there has been an uprise of Islamophobia around the world. Firstly, it was the Chinese parliament creating concentration camps for Muslims, and now Denmark seems to be following in their horrific footsteps, in the most inexplicable way. Denmark wants to isolate “unwanted” immigrants on Lindholm Island, once used to quarantine contagious animals.
Yes, you heard that right. Danish immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, was in fact very open about their goal, which was to ensure that a certain type of migrant population feel “unwelcome”. Denmark introduced this law along with a tightening up of their immigration laws, and the Danish People’s Party (DPP) spokesperson Martin Henriksen suggests, “I hope it will inspire other countries to do the same. If they want any advice they are always welcome to call. We want other countries to tighten up their rules too. We believe it is in everyone’s interest to do that.”
Over the years, Danish politicians’ descriptions of immigrants has become increasingly sinister. tweet
What the Danish government fails to realize is that in many cases, these people have already suffered punishment from their own corrupt government and leaders in the form of poverty. And now, the same colonizers who started tyrannical wars in far-off places to satiate their greed, who are actually responsible for the destruction of a would-be migrant’s homeland, now decide to make refugees and immigrants feel unwelcome.
Over the years, Danish politicians’ descriptions of immigrants has become increasingly sinister. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen described immigrants as “cracks appearing on the map of Denmark.” The DPP even posted a racist video on Twitter showing a Muslim man being dropped on Lindholm Island, which many found blatantly racist. When asked about the inhumane approach of banishing immigrants, who have already lost so much, to an abandoned island, Finance Minister Kristian Jensen of the Venstre Party stated, “Denmark is an island. We have lots of Islands and lots of Danes living on islands. None of them feel it is a violation of their rights.” He continued on to iterate that the facility is not a prison, yet many refugees face restrictions, being forced to abide by a regular compulsory check-in, “because we need to know where they are located.” Additionally, Denmark’s laws banning burqas and niqabs have been a particularly well-documented depiction of their bigoted biases against Muslim migrants.
Yildiz Akdogan, a Social Democrat, stated how the propaganda used against Muslim has desensitized Danes to “harsh rhetoric” towards immigrants, and compares it to the Nazi Germany’s tactics in the ostracizing of the Jews. We would be inclined to agree. tweet
The Danish government even describes low-income immigrant neighborhood as “ghettos”, with strict laws applied to the majority Muslim residents, including harsh rules such as children being separated from their families by the age of one to attend school (while Danish citizens are free to put their own children in school at the age of six), for at least 25 hours a week for mandatory lessons on Danish values, including Christmas and Easter, and the native language. Any denial on following these laws results means a stoppage of welfare checks. Even punishments are harsher if a crime is committed in the so-called “ghetto”.
When opposing parties question this ill-treatment of Muslims in Danish parliament, the responses are rather daunting: “That’s nonsense and rubbish. To me this is about, no matter who lives in these areas and who they believe in, they have to profess to the values required to have a good life in Denmark.”
Yildiz Akdogan, a Social Democrat, stated how the propaganda used against Muslim has desensitized Danes to “harsh rhetoric” towards immigrants, and compares it to the Nazi Germany’s tactics in the ostracizing of the Jews. We would be inclined to agree.
According to a New York Times article, many Danish citizens buy into the propaganda spewed against Muslims and not only approve of the harsher laws, but also show no empathy towards immigrants being cast away on an unknown island. A Dane citizen even told the New York Times, “I think they are 300, 400 years behind us…their culture doesn’t fit here.”
In 2016, a law was introduced under Prime Minister Ramussen’s authority, which forced refugees who come with jewelry as their only source of wealth to contribute that wealth to the government. This was an obvious tactic to stop refugees from entering the country. The proposal received backlash and was likened to Nazi persecution of minorities.
Migrants, more often than not, are attempting to escape war, or a corrupt government, or a failing economy. This does not qualify them as less-worthy, or as deserving of isolation on an island meant for diseased animals. tweet
What Denmark and other countries that follow their anti-immigration sentiment fail to realize are the consequences that these rules and can have on an entire generation that is already in shambles, and just wants a second chance at freedom. Fear results in more fear. The Danish government fails to realize these immigrants aren’t coming to “steal jobs,” a common misconception about immigrants used to stoke fear of “the other” across the globe. Migrants, more often than not, are attempting to escape war, or a corrupt government, or a failing economy. This does not qualify them as less-worthy, or as deserving of isolation on an island meant for diseased animals. The parallels the Danish government is drawing here are insulting, and dehumanizing, and this needs to stop now.
Many migrants have contributed to countries in positive ways by helping their economy, serving in the military, and becoming loyal citizens that give back and support the growth of local communities, yet they do not feel like they belong. Does this sound fair? Denmark’s bigoted politicians may believe so, but we certainly don’t.
Mohammad Hamid, 33, a Palestinian-born refugee from Syria, was interviewed by CNN on his thoughts of these strict new laws: “I came to Denmark hoping they (his children) would have a better life, I watch them engage with Danish traditions, believing they are accepted as part of this society. It pains me, but they are not.”
What do Muslims have to do to prove themselves as worthy of humane treatment amongst the rest of the world? It seems like we have a long way to go until our neighbors and the powerful nations that have torn into our homelands accept us, but for what it’s worth, it is our utmost obligation to continue to speak out against Islamophobia, for the sake of our Muslim brothers and sisters .