Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe pays visit to Finland

Together with other NGOs, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland met Thursday with representatives of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The fact-finding mission by OSCE is to get a first-hand view of the discrimination that religious groups and others in Finland. Sitting from left to right: Dr. Thomas Babila Sama (Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland), Ambassador Mehmet Paçacı (Turkey), PR in OSCE on Combating Intolerance against Muslims, Wael Cheblak (standing, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland), and Dr. Regina Polak, PR in OSCE on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia, and Discrimination, also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions.

Further information:

STATEMENT: The great replacement theory and playing with fire

It was only in March when the Finnish Security Service (Supo) 2020 annual report warned that the great replacement theory is nothing more than a conspiracy theory used by far-right terrorist groups. Should we be surprised that Finns Party (PS) politicians like its leader Jussi Halla-aho, vice president Riikka Purra, and party secretary Simo Grönroos spread this type of dangerous racism?

While these politicians are stoking the fires of hatred in Finland. In the United States, the Anti-Defense League, stated in a letter to Fox News the dangers of spreading the “great replacement theory,” which is nothing more than “a classic white supremacist trope that undergirds the modern white supremacist movement in America.”

Writes Supo in its last-year report: “One of the most noteworthy ideological motives of far-right terrorists is known as the Great Replacement conspiracy theory based on the idea of a fundamental threat posed by immigration and multiculturalism to the white population of Western countries. Views reflecting the idea of a Great Replacement have been highlighted in several far-right terrorist attacks.”

While the PS supports these types of theories, it should not surprise us. What is worrying is the reaction of the media to the Supo report and why it didn’t raise much concern about the potential danger of such theories, which have been the ideological smoking gun of terrorist acts in Norway on 22/7 and recently in Christchurch, New Zealand.

While dailies like Helsingin Sanomat commented on the issue, they relied more on what Supo said than exploring the topic further. They should have asked why these types of “theories” are being spread by the PS and what potential they have to fuel home-grown terrorism.

Giving the long history of race-baiting by the PS, it is never too late to call out the party for what it is – racist and dangerous.  

For further information contact:

Enrique Tessieri, chairperson, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland

+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: Migrants are NOT a homogeneous group – stop labeling us as such

We all know how far-right anti-immigration parties like the Finns Party classify migrants as one homogeneous group. They do this for the same reason as a racist would blame a whole group like 1.8 million Muslims for an act of terrorism.

This is common to other racialized groups in other countries. Blacks are all murderers when they kill a white person but a white person who carries out mass murder is a lone wolf or mentally deranged. Members of Group X are all criminals.

While the racist bias of xenophobic groups is not surprising, it is unfortunate that the media becomes an uncritical mouthpiece for their claims. The media knows better and should not refer to all migrants, even asylum seekers, as one unified group.

We should ask why the media and the general public, including some public servants and politicians, generalize about groups irresponsibly.

Their own racism and vantage point of white privilege are certainly factors.

We should demand more critical reporting by the media when speaking of migrants and especially when Islamophobic groups are making their racist rounds in public.

For further information contact:

Enrique Tessieri, chairperson, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland

+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: A style guide to writing about migration and avoiding words that hide our racism and denial

Below is a list of terms and observations together with recommendations for journalists and others that write about this topic, which NoHateFinland plans to update in the future:

  • Maahanmuuttajat is the term in Finnish for migrants. By using the term, we perpetuate stereotypes about this vastly diverse group. We generalize and, with it, fall into the trap of perpetuating stereotypes.
  • When a reporter interviews an Islamophobic politician and uses the term maahanmuuttajat liberally, he gives such a politician a free pass. If we dig deeper and try to decipher what the term means, it is a code word for non-EU nationals who are Muslims and come from Africa.
  • If you disagree, ask yourself if Swedes and other EU nationals are called maahanmuuttajat.
  • Using such a term to speak about “foreigners” is the same as grouping all Europeans into one category, which would be absurd. This is misleading and wrong.
  • The use of terms such as maahanmuuttajat is not only enabling an anti-immigration party to continue labeling and victimizing non-EU citizens, it also helps us to cover up and deny the racism in our society.
  • Maahanmuuttajataustainen, a person of foreign origin, is a sinister word used by anti-immigration politicians and public officials to intentionally or non-intentionally exclude first-generation Finns.
  • Here is a question: What would happen if we would drop the concept label “person of foreign origin” from our vocabulary? In my opinion, it would fast-forward inclusion.
  • One of the biggest question marks that first-generation Finns and minorities have is their exclusion and how their background does not make them “a real” Finn.
  • Using such terms encourages exclusion and a sense of outsiderness of such people who are equal members of this society on their own terms.
  • By using “person of foreign origin” on children born here and who speak Finnish as their main language, we strengthen white Finnish privilege. We tell such brown and black Finns that they are outsiders and that white people are the only cultural standard.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Hold an Islamophobic politician to account. When they paint non-White people with a broad brush as maahanmuuttajat, ask the person to specify. Are we speaking of Muslims, Africans, EU citizens, or what?
  • Even if it is an incomplete term, call first-generation people born here F i n n s, or brown, black, or Other Finns. Identity is a personal matter. Ask instead of automatically labeling a person into a certain group.
  • Strive to use language that is inclusive and does not polarize society into us and them. Anti-immigration parties use such language constantly and the media, unfortunately, follows suit.
  • Don’t ever use the term maahanmuuttokriittiinen, which is a rude synonym used by anti-immigration parties and politicians.
  • Have you noticed how only white Finns are using these terms?

For further information contact:

Enrique Tessieri, chairperson, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finalnd

+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.

TIEDOTE: Itsnäisyyspäivän vetoomus

Suomen Eduskunta Eduskuntasihteerin toimisto

Huom: Puoluelainmuutoksesta vastaavalle

Aihe: Itsenäisyyspäivän vetoomus poliittisten puolueiden uudistamisesta Laki poliittisista puolueista annetun lain muutosehdotuksista on ilmaistu huolestuneisuutta, että ne voivat rohkaista antidemokraattisia elementtejä aktivoimaan poliittista toimintaa. Lain tulisi sisältää erityissäännöksiä, joiden mukaan ryhmät, jotka vastustavat demokraattista hallintotapaa, eivät saisi perustaa puolueita ja henkilöt, jotka ovat käyttäytyneet laittomasti tavalla, joka rikkoo Suomen perustuslaissa ja kansainvälisissä sopimuksissa esitettyjä demokraattisia periaatteita, eivät saisi asettaa mihinkään virkaan tällaisissa poliittista asemaa hakevissa järjestöissä eikä myöhemmin.

Erityisen huolestuttavia ovat ryhmät, jotka kannattavat epädemokraattisia hallintomuotoja oletetun sananvapauden varjolla. Nämä henkilöt viittaavat usein sananvapauteen Suomen perustuslaissa tai kansainvälisissä ihmisoikeussopimuksissa. Henkilöitä, jotka toistuvasti tekevät loukkauksia ja laittomia tekoja, jotka kieltävät toisten ihmisarvon ja kunnioituksen, ei voida perustellusti pitää muuna kuin demokratian ja demokraattisten oikeuksien vastustajina. Vastaavasti henkilöitä, jotka kiihottavat vihaa tiettyjä ihmisryhmiä kohtaan ja jotka ovat lain nojalla tuomittuja, on pidettävä kelpaamattomina osallistumaan poliittisten puolueiden johtoon.

Viimeksi mainitussa yhteydessä viittamme toisen maailmansodan jälkeen allekirjoitettuun Pariisin sopimuksen lausekkeisiin, ja Suomelle asetettuihin erityisvaatimuksiin, jotka koskevat rasistisia ideoita kannattavien tai tällaisia ideologioita toteuttavia ryhmiä. Näihin vaatimuksiin liittyminen oli välttämätöntä suomalaisen elämäntavan kannalta keskeisen demokraattisen poliittisen järjestelmän palauttamiseksi . Mainitussa sopimuksessa vaaditiin liittymässä olevilta valtioilta erityisiä oikeudellisia järjestelyjä, kuten nykyisessä Saksassa vallitsevia, joita esimerkkejä ei juurikaan mainita nykyisen lainsäädännön valmistelutyössä huolimatta niiden merkityksestä kyseessä olevaan lakiuudistukseen.

Paitsi tehtävänä asianomaiselle ministeriölle, joka tarkistaa puolueiden säännöt rekisteröinnin ja valittujen virkailijoiden rekisteröinnin yhteydessä, tama valvonta on myös täsmennettävä lainsäädännössä. Joitakin rajoituksia voidaan harkita tällaisille poissulkemisille joille vaalikausi voi olla kohtuullinen raja. Tällaisen demokraattisten oikeuksien ja vapauksien kunnioittamisen valvonnan tulisi ulottua paitsi henkilöihin ja ryhmiin, jotka haluavat rekisteröidä uusia puolueita, myös virkanimityksiin nykyisissä puolueissa ja niiden komiteoissa. Demokratian puolustaminen on Suomelle niin tärkeää, että hallinnolliset järjestelyt sen suojelemiseksi epävarmoina aikoina, kun vietämme Suomen itsenäisyyden 103. vuotta, edellyttävät tarkkuutta ja valppautta.

Helsingissä 6. joulukuuta 2010

Suomen Viharikosvastainen yhdistys *- Suomen Akateemiset Ulkomaalaiset ry

Toimeksi saaneena Ahti Tolvanen, sihteeri Puh. 0468 129790 svyfindland (at) gmail.com nohatefinland.org •

*Yhdistyksemme on perustettu syyskuussa 2018 ja rekisteröitynyt kansalaisjärjestöksi seuraavassa kuussa. Kansalaisjärjestön tavoitteena on torjua ja poistaa viharikokset ja kaikenlainen syrjintä Suomesta, kuten antisemitismi, islamofobia, afrofobia, misogynia ja muut sosiaalisen syrjäytymisen muodot koulutuksen, seminaarien, tapahtumien ja konferenssien avulla.

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland’s new 2020-2022 board

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finalnd (Suomen viharikosvastinen yhdistys ry, Finska Anti-Harbrottsorganisation rf) celebrated on December 5 its Annual General Meeting. Apart from strategic matters, the meeting elected the following board members for the 2020-2022 term:

  • Enrique Tessieri, chairperson
  • Sobia Rashid, vice chairperson
  • Ahti Tolvanen, secretary,
  • Mounir E. Eliassen, treasurer
  • Thomas Babila Sama (board member)
  • Wael Cheblak (board member)
  • Rashid Hameed (board member)
  • Masuohme Rajai (board member)
  • Muhammed Shire (board member)

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: 5 DECEMBER 2020 AT 2 PM

Suomen viharikosvastainen yhdistys ry, Finska Anti-Harbrottsorganisation rf, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland announces that it will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday, 5 December 2020, at 2 pm. The AGM will be aired via Zoom. If you are interested in attending, please send to svyfinland@gmail.com a request to attend and we will send you a link to participate via Zoom. Documents and other information will be sent on the same week that the meeting will take place.

We hope to see you!

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, chairperson, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland

+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.