On Muslim youth growing up on the front lines of nationalist politics in Denmark.
In 1943, when other European governments watched while Jews in their country were rounded up and deported to concentration camps, the Danish organized a nation-wide effort in which Danish fisherman carried close to 8,000 Jews across the Oresund sea to safety in nearby Sweden. Similarly, in 1983 when refugees were fleeing the Iran/Iraq war and violence in Palestine, Denmark welcomed them and led Europe in having the most generous humanitarian refugee policies offering the right to asylum, full legal rights and the same social benefits as Danish citizens.
Today, in stark contrast, Denmark has some of the most restrictive immigration and refugee policies in Europe. These policies reflect a dramatic shift from a posture of humanitarian outreach and compassion towards refugees to one focused on the increased restriction and policing of migrants and immigrants. Danish police patrol the border and the bridge between Sweden and Denmark to prevent Syrian refugees from entering. New laws emerge to deter migrants from seeking refuge in Denmark—such as the passage of a national law allowing the government to seize the personal assets of those applying for refugee status. Other laws, meanwhile, target Muslims already living in Denmark—including local mandates targeting school-age children that require that pork be served in elementary school lunch programs.
Denmark has some of the most restrictive immigration and refugee policies in Europe.