Europe’s Alcatraz: Why the continent’s most liberal nation of Denmark will dump unwanted refugees on a remote 17 acre island

Sunday, February 10, 2019
By Paul Martin

9 February 2019

The rain lashed down and wind blew in fiercely over icy Baltic waters as Peter Skaarup stepped back on the Danish mainland off the ferry from Lindholm island. ‘It’s a very nice place,’ he told me with a smile.

‘If you go there you will see a very pleasant, quiet island. There are no cars. People will have a good time there.’

Skaarup, one of Denmark’s most prominent politicians, sounded like a man selling a dream holiday destination.

Yet he was greeted by hundreds of local protesters holding handmade banners.

For Skaarup is parliamentary leader of the populist Danish People’s Party (DPP). And the island he was visiting for the first time has split his nation over plans to turn it into ‘Europe’s Alcatraz’ – an isolated fortress to dump dozens of rejected and criminal refugees who cannot be sent home.

This 17-acre scrap of land – home to a research station for animal diseases and a cemetery for infected carcasses – symbolises how a Scandinavian country once famed for liberalism and tolerance has become the toughest on refugees in Western Europe.

Denmark’s immigration minister even posed with a cake on social media to celebrate passing her 50th law restricting migrants.

Recent measures include a ban on face veils, confiscating jewellery from refugees and designating 29 urban areas as ‘ghettos’ subject to special laws to control residents.

Other ideas debated by MPs include prohibiting ritual slaughter of animals for halal food and barring women teachers from wearing head-scarves.

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