STATEMENT: This year’s hate crime report reveals a lot about Finland and its police service

The Police University College published this week its latest suspected hate crime statistics for 2019. It showed that while hate crimes, on the whole, had retreated a tad compared with 2018, 87.1% of all suspected cases were due to a person’s ethnic or religious background.

Other suspected hate crimes were due to sexual orientation (72 cases/5.7%), disability (44/4.9%), and gender identity (21/2.3%).

While we understand that these cases, like that of sexual assaults, are only the tip of the iceberg, the important question we should ask is how to challenge hate crime effectively.

This may be easier said than done since Finland is still living in denial about hate crime, hate speech, and racism.

Nobody has yet given a fair and honest answer to how Finland, with one of the best education systems in the world and whose laws are supposed to promote social equality, has seen the growth of an openly racist party called the Finns Party (PS).

If Finland’s second-biggest party in parliament is openly Islamophobic and turns a blind eye to far-right ideology among its ranks, should we be surprised that so little is being done politically to challenge a social ill like racism?

The biggest problem in the police service’s relationship with racism and different minority communities in Finland is the low priority of racism and lack of openness. Sometimes, one gets the impression that the police fear more the reaction of a minority community to what happened to a victim of its group than taking a public stand against hate crime.

Another matter that is a blow to police trust in resolving hate crime cases is time. Many who have reported racist harassment and threats understand that your case may take months to resolve. In such cases, the police may overlook the bias motivators in Jämsä of an asylum seeker.

Another case that received wide coverage in June was an eighteen-year-old Muslim, who was chased and physically attacked by locals in Teuva, a town in western Finland.

Continue reading “STATEMENT: This year’s hate crime report reveals a lot about Finland and its police service”

STATEMENT: Now you see hate crime, now you don’t

Last week, we read about two cases where the police service did not find bias indicators in two violent cases involving a Somali Finn and an asylum seeker in Jämsä.

The formula for determining a hate crime is straightforward: crime + bias motivation = hate crime.

The following bias indicators are taken into account when determining a hate crime: comments, victim perception, organized hate groups, pattern, intense violence and specific targeting, no other obvious motive, timing, and differences between the victim and the perpetrator(s).

The Criminal Code of Finland does not recognize the term “hate crime.” Section 5 states that a basis for increasing punishment (564/2015) is if the “offense for a motive based on race, skin color, birth status, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability or another corresponding grounds.”

Case One

Involves the death of an eighteen-year-old Somali Finn stabbed in April by a white Finn at the Kannelmäki train station. On September 14, the suspect was handed a five-year prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

The mother of the victim said that she and her husband are unhappy with the sentence.

“The prosecutor tried to get a hate crime charge pinned on the suspect,” said the mother, Ilhan Jama. “The person [who stabbed my son] alleged that he was scared by my son’s presence, or that a dark-skinned person was walking towards him down the stairs.”

Case Two

The second case, involving an asylum seeker in the Central Finnish town of Jämsä, appears to have left out important information about the crime.

Even if the asylum seeker does not speak Finnish well enough, he did make out the following words: vitun pakolainen (f**king asylum seeker) and vitun ulkomaalainen (f**king foreigner).

Doesn’t this point to a possible hate crime? The crime is an unlawful threat with a knife + victim perception = hate crime.

The knife used to threaten the asylum seeker.

Steps in the right direction

Whenever the police fails to convince that bias motivation was not a factor it is a blow to the credibility and fuels greater mistrust from the victim’s group.

Another factor that undermines trust is the long length of these investigations, which in the Jämsä asylum seeker case took over a year.

If the police and Finland’s institutions, which are mainly white, want to fuel trust and good relations with our culturally diverse communities, they should pay special attention and implement measures that increase trust.

For further information contact:

Enrique Tessieri, European Islamophobia Report Finland chapter author

+358 40 8400773

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny, and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.

STATEMENT: Finland’s most Islamophobic assault so far in 2020 should be treated as a hate crime

On June 7 in the western Finnish town of Teuva a Muslim was attacked by white Finns. If we look at the bias indicators, three factors stand out: victim perception, the severety of the violence (the victim was taken to a hospital for treatement), and vandalizing and writing graffiti on his car.

While hate speech is not a hate crime, in this case, it is a strong case for bias motivation. The suspects threatened to kill him, and while assaulted, an older man asked him to “ask Allah for help.”

A hate crime is a criminal offense that has a bias motivation targeting a particular group that could be based on real or perceived gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, or disability.

Even if crimes are serious offenses, a hate crime can have a lasting impact on the victim and his community.

We are not the only ones who are concerned about eh racist aspect of the crime, The mayor of Teuva Veli Nummela, the town’s newspaper Tejuka were just as adamant about the motivation of the crime.

Nummela wrote in a blog: “We will evaluate these practices [anti-racism] at the beginning of the new school year. We want to do our best in the fight against racism and violence and respect for human rights.”

Tejukka‘s June 17 editorial, “Measuring civility,” openly condemns what happened to the Muslim, adding that “racism should not be accepted in any shape or form.”

The town newspaper also published several stories about the incident interviewing the victim, the police, and a foreigner living in Teuva.

The police are not ruling out a hate crime but appear not to be in any rush to do so.

According to the Criminal Code of Finland (766/2015), Section 5, there are grounds for increasing the punishment if the crime “was based on race, skin color, birth status, national of ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability of another corresponding grounds.”

The police state: “For now there is no information that points to a hate crime but we are not excluding such a possibility.” No evidence of a hate crime (bias indicator)? For one, check out the victim’s car. Source: Poliisi
I spoke with the Muslim today, and he is recovering from what happened but is still clearly shaken by what happened.

“I will move [from Kristiinankaupunki] to Helsinki at the end of this month,” he said. “I cannot live here because I am afraid to go outside.”

The bias indicators of this crime speak for themselves and suggest that what happened was no ordinary crime but also a hate crime.

For further information contact:

Enrique Tessieri, European Islamophobia Report Finland chapter author

+358 40 8400773

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny, and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.

Finland’s Islamophobic network 2019

Who are the most “notable” figures of Finland’s Islamophobic network in 2019? In the list below, 13 are members of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, 3 are National Coalition Party (NCP) members, 2 are Christian Democrats (KD), and three others are political “freelancers:” Marco de Wit, Junnes Lokka, and Tiina Wiik.

The list, which is far from complete, was published in the European Islamophobic Report 2019, the most comprehensive report on anti-Muslim racism in Europe.

So who are they?

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Source: Eduskunta

Jussi Halla-aho: an old-timer Islamophobe convicted in 2012 for ethnic agitation and for breaching the sanctity of religion. Halla-aho recently said that nobody would have no reason to masturbate if there were no news about migration and asylum seekers. He aims to end Muslim immigration to Finland.

Riikka Purra: An Islamophobe who commonly blames all of the country’s problems on migrants and especially Muslims. Her political career relies strongly on Islamophobia. She commonly uses the term “harmful” immigration to describe Muslims and other people of color but doesn’t understand that she is a “harmful” MP to Finland’s growth and health.

Sebastian Tynkkynen: Convicted two times for ethnic agitation, he is usually the first one to cast the Islamophobic stone at Muslim victims. Tynkkynen was one PS politician who profited from the Oulu sexual assault cases and got a ticket to parliament.

Ville Tavio: One wonders if this politician is a lawyer or not when he talks about Muslims. One of the many things he has proposed is changing the Finnish Constitution so that Finns would have greater rights over foreigners. He has a hard time accepting that everyone, irrespective of one’s background, is equal before the law.

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Sources: Euroopean Parliament and Eduskunta

Laura Huhtasaari: The far-right Islamophobic rhetoric of this MEP appears to have supercharged in Brussels. Like Purra and other PS women politicians, she too sees Muslims under her bed and believes we will all be reading from the Koran soon. She commonly praises US President Donald Trump and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.

Juha Mäenpää: It’s evident that this MP does not like Muslims. In 2015, he said God had answered his prayers when an asylum reception center was razed to the ground. In 2019, he got in trouble by comparing migrants to an “invasive species.” The PS politicians usually speak in code. Mäenpää meant asylum seekers and Muslims when he mentioned invasive species.

Ano Turtiainen: This politician has gained national and international notoriety for a tweet that mocked the death of George Floyd. Before the tweet, Turtiainen has published a lot of racist posts on social media.

Jari Ronkainen: Is a politician who loathes Muslims and multiculturalism. It’s no surprise that he, therefore, lobbies for tighter migration laws and faster deportations of migrants. A racist video that denigrates migrants in a video is only a part of his Islamophobic repertoire. He supported in 2018 an initiative to prohibit young girls from using veils.

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Sources: City of Helsinki, Eduskunta, and the PS

Matias Turkkila: If there is a person in Finland who has facilitated and given Islamophobes a platform to voice their racism, that person is without a doubt Matias Turkkila. In a recent Tweet, he cried about Katie Hopkins’ permanent suspension from Twitter. Editor of the PS’ Suomen Uutiset and Halla-aho’s former campaign manager.

Sanna Antikainen: This MP’s Islamophobia from Outokumpu (population 6,803) resembles the town’s name, which means “strange hill.” Even if her hometown has hardly any foreigners, Antikainen is a fervent Islamophobe and supporter of US President Donald Trump. She is a trained nurse, but would she attend to Muslims or people of color if she were working at a hospital? One of her favorite lines is that Europe “isn’t the social welfare office of the world.”

Asseri Kinnunen: The PS Youth politicians is a member of the far-right and Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu association. He likes to wear fascist shirts and ties of the Lapua Movement of the 1930s. Does Kinnunen house Islamophobic views? Guess.

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Sources: Facebook, Eduskunta, National Coalition Party

Johannes Sipola: After the Christchurch massacre in March 2019, Sipola tweeted: “The New Zealand case show ever-convincingly that multicultural society does not work. When other people [of other backgrounds] rape and kill enough [people], it is only a question of time when there will be a reaction from the opposite side. First and foremost, everyone defends their own kind.”

Wille Rydman: For some in his party, Rydman is considered the Halla-aho of the National Coalition Party due to his Islamophobic and far-right views. He warned last year that the ethnic composition of Europe is changing due to low birth rates and that such ethnic diversity is harmful to the region.

Atte Kaleva: Selfies with Jussi Halla-aho and spreading Islamophobic soundbites is what Kaleva does in the belief they will get him elected to parliament. The good news is that such tactics haven’t worked. Like Rydman, Kaleva would be more at home in the PS. An Islamophobe populist opportunist.

Kai Mykkänen: The Oulu sexual assault cases in 2018-2019 that caused hysteria to spiral out of control in Finland, Mykkänen, who was then interior minister, lobbied for stricter laws, faster deportations, and even tests to asylum seekers to prove that they understood Finnish values. Mykkänen forgot to mention that Finnish men are also guilty of sexual assault and violence.

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Sources: Eduskunta, SKE, City of Oulu

Sari Essayah: This conservative politician is a strong supporter of Israel’s settlement expansion in Palestine. Under her leadership, the Christian Democrats have moved politically closer to the PS’ and NCP’s on immigration and asylum issues. She has demonized Muslims and blamed sexual crimes on cultural factors. In one election compass, Essayah had “no opinion” whether it was the EU’s obligation to save asylum seekers from drowning in the Mediterranean.

Päivi Räsänen: This homophobic politician does not usually have kind things to say about Muslims from the Middle East unless they are Christians. As interior minister, she denied that ethnic profiling was carried out by the police even if studies proved the contrary. In January, she spread a rumor that a school in Helsinki had substituted Mohammed for Jesus Christ at a Christmas celebration party.

Marco de Witt: A loudmouth Islamophobe who desecrated the Quran in public last year. He was so obnoxious that he was kicked out of the Finland First (Suomen Kansa Ensin) political party and movement.

Junnes Lokka: A Moroccan-born Islamophobe who hates Muslims and asylum seekers. During the Oulu sexual assault cases last year, Lokka and Wiik were Katie Hopkins’ hosts in Oulu. Hopkins was recently banned permanently from Twitter because of her “hateful conduct.”

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Soure: Twitter

Tiina Wiik: She hosts with Lokka Vihapuhe FM or Hate Speech FM. During these transmissions, you will hear the views of Finland’s most questionable far-right politicians and Islamophobes. The couple organizes far-right events in Finland as well.

This story was originally published in Migrant Tales.

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STATEMENT: European Islamophobia Report 2019

Read the full report here

European Islamophobia Report 2019 – Press Release

SETA will publish 2019 European Islamophobia Report on 20th June Saturday after the opening panel of the Report. Edited by Enes Bayraklı and Farid Hafez European Islamophobia Report (EIR) published annually since 2015. The EIR 2019 includes a general assessment of Islamophobia in Europe in the year 2019 and 32 country reports that include almost all EU member states and additional countries such as Russia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Montenegro. The EIR 2019 brought together 32 scholars, experts, and civil society activists from various European countries who are specialized on racism and Islamophobia studies. They cover various issues from media, politics, and the justice system to the Internet, and offer concrete policy recommendations for civil society and politics. As our audience grows to include practitioners, scholars, and the general public, our website has acquired an audience from 165 countries, and the EIR and its findings have been cited frequently by international organizations, politicians, NGOs, scholars, and local and international media outlets.

In 2019, while the Islamophobic terror attack in Christchurch in New Zealand made the headlines, mosques have also been targeted in Germany, UK, France and Norway resulting to dozens of deaths and injured persons. Facing this rising threat, European states show an ambiguous stance. On the one hand, European governments work hard to track far-right terror groups and dismantle them. On the other, they participate in the normalization of Islamophobic discourses in Europe through discriminative declarations, bills and security policies targeting Muslim people. As the result of this normalization, not only far-right but also democrat and liberal majority governments started to put the life of Muslims into jeopardy and to undermine their fundamental rights.

In Austria for instance, the FPÖ submitted an amendment to change to School Teaching Act to include a hijab ban for pupils up to the age of 14 as well as for teachers; in Belgium, Halal slaughter ban was introduced; in Denmark, it became mandatory to shake public officials’ hands during citizenship ceremonies; in France, a bill to ensure so-called religious neutrality of persons contributing to the public service of education (i.e. banning headscarf in those services) was drafted by the Senate.

Besides the attempts of governments and political parties to implement legislations that directly target Muslims as religious subjects, mainstream media and private institutions are also responsible of spreading anti-Muslim feelings. In fact, one of the most striking examples of the normalization of Islamophobia in 2019 in Europe was the scandal around the Nobel Committee’s decision to award Peter Handke the Nobel Prize in Literature. During the Kosovo War, Handke expressed his wish to be “a Serbian-Orthodox monk fighting for Kosovo.” In 2006, Handke gave a eulogy at the funeral of Slobodan Milošević, the Serbian dictator responsible for the genocides against Albanians and Bosnians in the 1990s.

The European Islamophobia Report 2019 constitutes a precious source of knowledge for everybody – whether scholars or ordinary readers – interested in the development of racism and Islamophobia in Europe. Well-organized, complete and accessible, the EIR 2019 also represents a useful and valuable tool for any activist or policymaker who aims to tackle Islamophobia in a decisive manner. Indeed, all 32 country reports included in this book do not only analyse the Islamophobia phenomena but also explore pro-active solutions from the civil society.

We hope this compendium of useful insights and data will provide European policy-makers and institutions valuable tools to tackle anti-Muslim racism in Europe seriously.

The 2019 European Islamophobia Report and previous years reports can be downloaded  from www.islamophobiaeurope.com

For further information contact:

Enrique Tessieri, European Islamophobia Report Finland chapter author

+358 40 8400773

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny, and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.

STATEMENT: #BlackLivesMatter and the Finns Party

Last week, the Finns Party (PS) in general and its MP Ano Turtiainen in particular got a taste of the #BlackLivesMatter phenomenon in Finland. Even if we consider expelling Turtiainen from the PS parliamentary group a good start, is it enough to rid the Islamophobic party of its racism problem?

Turtiainen has a shady history before he was elected to parliament last year. In 2018, he was convicted by a court for inciting violence against a Red Cross-managed asylum reception center, and in 2010 sentenced for assaulting a 14-year-old.

Turtiainen was quoted as saying in Mikkeli-based Länsi-Savo last year that he had no regrets about inciting people to commit acts of vandalism against the Red Cross. He stated that among the PS, such a conviction is a feather in one’s cap.

Apart from stating that Ebola is nature’s way of keeping down the population in Africa and other racist statements, the Tweet that broke the camel’s back was when he mocked George Floyd’s death.

The “joke?” George Floyd’s wide-eyed face full of terror colored purple with the name of the 1960s rock band “Pink Floyd.”

Cruel, racist, and unbecoming of an MP but that’s not all he tweets. Turtainen stated that as black people get more rights, they become more unruly. He suggested that slavery would be an effective way of keeping blacks in line.

If the PS knew of Turtiainen’s criminal record and his racist outbursts, why was he permitted to run for parliament for the party?

The answer is clear: The PS has a racism problem that it has no intention of correcting.

Populism and racism attract votes.

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny, and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.

STATEMENT: Somali Finn youth death is a sad reminder of similar cases

Today we heard the tragic death of an eighteen-year-old Somali Finn youth who died after two white Finns stabbed him at the Kannelmäki train station of Helsinki. The police have taken two suspects into custody. Investigations are ongoing.

The death of the young man, which is tragic and needless, brings a sense of DeJa’Vu concerning other similar crimes. Two that come to mind are the horrific events of Black February 2012, when three Muslims were killed in three weeks, a suicide, and a  Finns Party councilman who offered to give a medal to a white Finn for killing one of these victims in cold blood.

The father of one of the victims wasn’t at all happy with how the police handled the case. He said that apart from not expressing any empathy for the parents’ grief, it was difficult to get any information from them about the crime.

“The police appeared to be more concerned about keeping the case under wraps because they feared a revenge attack by Somalis.

And then there was the brutal stabbing of a Pakistani migrant in February 2018 by three white youths.

Writes the Helsinki Times: “Assailants inflicted 20-30 stab wounds on the victim using knives and other edged weapons. His lips were also cut and was stabbed near the eye. Fortunately, the victim was transferred to the hospital urgently and underwent major surgery. Although still in ICU [intensive care unit] and in critical condition with severe injuries, his situation is not life-threatening anymore, and has regained consciousness.”

Much to the surprise of the victim and other NGOs following the case, no hate-crime charges were brought against the suspects. There was, however, a small consolation: the charges against the three youths were raised from suspected manslaughter to suspected murder.

An interesting matter to watch from the case is how long it will take for the police to determine if what happened was a hate crime or not.

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny, and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.

Rashid and Sobia commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On this date of March 21, 1960, the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire on a group of peaceful protestors demonstrating against that country’s apartheid laws. In commemoration of the 69 people that were killed on that day, the United Nations called on in 1966 the international community to intensify its efforts to banish all forms of racial discrimination.

Source: United Nations.

Despite celebrating this important day, there is still a lot of work to be done. 

About two years and a half ago on February 23 in the Helsinki suburb of Vantaa, a Pakistani man was brutally attacked by three young white Finnish youths.

Writes the Helsinki Times: “Assailants inflicted 20-30 stab wounds on the victim using knives and other edged weapons. His lips were also cut and was stabbed near the eye. Fortunately, the victim was transferred to the hospital urgently and underwent major surgery. Although still in ICU [intensive care unit] and in critical condition with severe injuries, his situation is not life-threatening anymore, and he has regained consciousness.”

Anti-Hate Crime Orgnisation on the forefront of anti-racism activity in Finland. The association was founded in Helsinki on September 8, 2018, and officially registered on October 3, 2018. One of the guiding forces of the association is Rashid and his family. Rashid, who was the victim of a brutal crime in 2018, wished after recovery to do work against hate crime and racism. Ther association’s first board (from left to right): Enrique Tessieri (chairperson), Tegha Abeng (substitute board member), Thomas Babila (board member), Ali Rashid (board member), Ahti Tolvanen (secretary), Rashid (honorary and board member), Sobia (vice-chairperson), and Mounir E. Eliassen (treasurer).

Much to the amazement of the family and other NGOs, the police did not consider what happened to Rashid a hate crime.

“The police called us the following day after what happened to my husband,” said the wife of the victim. “The first question I asked the police if it was a hate crime. They said it wasn’t because the suspects were intoxicated.”

The three youths received 9.5-year prison sentences each after they raised the charges in April from attempted manslaughter to attempted murder.

What does this day, The International Day for the Elimination of Racism, mean to Rashid and Sobia?

“We left our own country, our people, and family to live in peace in a foreign land, but this horrible matter happened to Rashid and us,” she explained.

Sobia said that apart from having a profound economic, social, and psychological impact on their lives today, the family has not recovered from what happened. “It made us lose trust in Finland as a safe country,” she added.

Sobia states that she and her husband continue to get suspicious looks from strangers when they are in public.

“You can tell when you are not wanted because some people give you angry looks,” she said. “And this is because you may have dark hair and don’t look like them.”

What happened to Rashid and the rest of his family after that February evening shows that only one day to celebrate the elimination of racism is not enough.

It is also a reminder that racism can strike at you.

*The announcement was also published in Migrant Tales.

STATEMENT: Spreading fake news the Finns Party way

STATEMENT 20.3.2020

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND

SUOMEN VIHARIKOSVASTAINEN YHDISTYS RY

FINSKA ANTI-HARBOTTSORGANISATION RF

The Finns Party (PS) are notorious for spreading fake news and reinforcing stereotypes about migrants. With the coronavirus pandemic, their pet topic – migrants and asylum seekers – do not attract the same attention as before.

PS MP and first vice president, Riikka Purra, said on a  Yle’s A-talk that she has doubts about Finland’s health infrastructure. “I have received information from a hospital that they wash disposable equipment,” she tweeted, declining to say who her source is.

One old tactic used by anti-immigration and far-right parties is to make outrageous statements like Purra did. It does not matter if the story is true or not because it reached her followers.

We would not be surprised if the claim by Purra is only hot air. If she were speaking the truth, she’d get in touch with health authorities to investigate the claim.

It will not happen because her claim is most likely not true and in the fake-news fear-mongering league.

What she said should be strongly condemned.

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.

STATEMENT: Coronavirus, the far-right, us and the future

STATEMENT 18.3.2020

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND

SUOMEN VIHARIKOSVASTAINEN YHDISTYS RY

FINSKA ANTI-HARBOTTSORGANISATION RF

While the COVID-19, or coronavirus, is wreaking havoc to our societies and lifestyles, we should understand that to overcome this pandemic, we must first and foremost accept that we are in the same boat.

Being on the same boat means the whole boat and not just part of it facing the deadly pandemic, global economies in free fall, the threat of millions out of work, schools and borders closing, isolating the elderly, and staring into the unknown with question marks.

All of the latter is happening in a world that faces global warming and the largest-ever refugee crisis to date.

It is an opportune time to reflect on those factors that have brought us to where we are and why some of us believe that the best response we can offer to the present crisis is stocking up on toilet paper.

European far-right parties like the Finns Party (PS) are good examples of the toxic societies that they are trying to build with national greed and racism that is fed by us versus them.

We have no other choice today, but that challenge and beat back political forces that threaten to take us to wars that our grandparents and parents witnessed in World War 1 and 2.

The best defense that parties like the PS have is our denial. Without us knowing, our lack of courage to challenge social ills in our societies allow racists and Islamophobes to survive another day.

We are hopeful that when the COVID-19 crisis blows over, and if we are ready to take on board an important lesson, one of these is acknowledging that we are in the same boat. There is only one race: the human race.

The world will start to be a better place and far-right parties that spread hate, like the PS and others, will shrink in size and be exposed for what they are: a pandemic worse than COVID-19.

admin@nohatefinland.org

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September 2018 and registered as an NGO the following month. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.