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.

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.

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.

STATEMENT: The killings in Germany are a warning to Finland and the rest of Europe

The killings that took place in Germany and which caused the murder of nine people at two hookah bars not only sends shock waves in Germany but to the rest of Europe. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the gunman, whose murderous deeds were apparently fueled by far-right extremism.

She stated:

“However, most currently indicates that the perpetrator acted out of far-right, racist motives fueled by hate against people with different backgrounds, a different religion, or different appearance. Racism is poison. Hatred is poison.”

With the rise of parties like the Finns Party (PS) since 2011, minorities in Finland have also witnessed hate because they may be of a different religion or look different.

Demonizing groups like Muslims and labeling them as “an invasive species” by a PS MP or spreading fear about how white Finns will become a minority in their country is the same type of poison that Merkel warned.

Hatred against Muslims, people of color, Jews, and other visible minorities has not unfortunately subsided in Finland but picked up speed.

Even if we saw home-grown terrorist attacks against asylum reception centers and the rise of the far-right as a result of a large number of asylum seekers that came here in 2015, we should take what happened in Germany as a wake-up call.

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND

admin@nohatefinland.org

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

WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEBSITE

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND·SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2018·

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.

Email: admin@nohatefinland.org