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

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.

Whose hands are joined in the picture of our unofficial logo?

The joined hands in the picture below have become the unofficial logo of our NGO, Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland. Do those hands have a story to tell?

I met a man a few years ago who was distraught by what had happened to him during a visit to Poland. He visited a small town in the east of the country, where he was harassed by locals. When he complained to the police, they threatened to throw him in jail.

“Can I take a picture of you to go with the story?” I asked.

“No,” he responded. “I don’t want my picture taken because I fear for my safety.”

Real hands and that reveal a story that speaks volumes about Europe today.

Photo: Enrique Tessieri

Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September and registered as an NGO in October. 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.

Who and why we are



Even if the NGO Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland (Suomen viharikosvastainen yhdistys ry/Finska Anti-hartbrottsorganisation rf) was founded on September 8 and registered on October 3 by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH), our association was spreading its first roots on February 23, 2018.

On that Friday in Vantaa at about 11:45 PM, three Finnish youths violently attacked a Pakistani migrant.

Migrant Taleswrote in March: “A group of youths and stabbed at least twenty times and repeatedly hit with ax causing, among other injuries, a fractured skull. The police are quiet until Tuesday when it puts out a statement, which does not mention that this may be a hate crime.”

If it were reported by the police as a hate crime, it would be one of the worst ever in Finland.

I met the victim, his wife, and two daughters, for the first time in March in the hospital. His state was terrible and weeks later it would take as long as four hours for the nurses to remove his stitches.

One of the wishes that the victim had, who is a member of our NGO’s board and our first honorary chairperson, is to tell people about hate crime. One matter that saddened him was that no NGO – except for one – had visited him when he was recovering in hospital.

One of the first matters we plan to do, among other matters like networking and forming alliances with different NGOs, is community empowerment like our honorary chairperson wishes. We will gladly oblige.

Since we believe that there is a lot of work to do in the area of hate crime, and, unfortunately, this will worsen in Finland, our answer to this challenge is Suomen viharikosvastainen yhdistys ry/Finska Anti-hartbrottsorganisation rf/Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland.

The historic meeting when the Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded on September 8, 2018 in Helsinki and registered as an association on October 3, 2018 by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH). From left to right: Enrique Tessieri (chairperson), Tegha Abeng (substitute board member), Imran Adan (board member), Thomas Babila (board member), Ali Rashid (board member), Ahti Tolvanen (secretary), Rashed Hameed (honorary and board member), Sobia Rashid (vice chairperson), and Mounir e. Eliassen (treasurer).

Apart from being Finland’s first hate-crime NGO, we call on everyone interested to join us and to challenge this social illness.The journey is a long one but we are confident that we will prevail.