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: 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: The media must demand from populists of the Finns Party answers to their tough questions

STATEMENT 4.3.2020

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND

SUOMEN VIHARIKOSVASTAINEN YHDISTYS RY

FINSKA ANTI-HARBOTTSORGANISATION RF

Finns Party (PS) first vice president Riikka Purra reiterated on Yle’s A-studio Wednesday her party’s wish to end humanitarian-based immigration, which is code for Finland to ditch its international refugee agreements and respect for human rights.

If Purra and her party had their way, not one Muslim from a region like the Middle East could seek asylum in Finland.

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PS MP Riikka Purra suspects that most of the people in Turkey’s refugee camps aren’t asylum seekers. Her solution to the Turkish-Greek border crisis is that millions of people should apply for asylum in Turkey. Source: Yle A-talk.

Article 14 of The UN Human Rights Declaration clearly states that,

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

There has been a lot of discussion in Finland about the role of the media in fueling a hostile environment against migrants, especially Muslims and people of color.

An example of the above was shown in the A-studio interview when host Anikka Damström didn’t care to ask what ending humanitarian-based immigration would imply for Finland and its international commitments.

Damström’s first question was if the 10,000-100,000 people at the Turkish-Greek border are in need of asylum. The question is a loaded one in a country that suspects asylum seekers all the way up to the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.

What kind of a country would be if it stopped respecting human rights? We only have to look at Poland and Hungary to get an answer to the question.

Finnish journalism should get real and start to ask politicians tough questions and demand answers.

Without vigilant media, we are doomed to maintaining and living with Finland’s hostile environment against migrants and minorities.

Without leadership from the media and Finland’s political class, populist and Islamophobic parties like the PS will continue to cast their dark shadow on the country.

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: We need answers from the Finns Party and rapidly

STATEMENT 1.3.2020

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND

SUOMEN VIHARIKOSVASTAINEN YHDISTYS RY

FINSKA ANTI-HARBOTTSORGANISATION RF

After the Finns Party (PS) Youth leader Toni Jokinen scandal hit the fan hard after he admitted that he is “an ethnonationalist, traditionalist, and a fascist, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

One of these burning questions is if we want to allow our well-functioning social welfare society to be destroyed by ethnonationalism and fascism.

Before we get to the answer to that question, it would be important that our media grows more teeth and that politicians show more leadership in defending our values and way of life, which include social equality for all irrespective of one’s background.

A good way of challenging parties like the PS is to demand some straight questions. Here are some I would ask:

  1. The PS wants to bar Muslims and people of color from coming to Finland. Does this mean that you will ditch international agreements like the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Declaration of Human Rights?
  2. Does the PS believe that these radical changes, which would imply Finland leaving the EU, are possible?
  3. The PS wants to scrap hate speech laws. How will you assure that migrants and minorities won’t become victims of racist harassment and hate crime?
  4. Could the PS define what is racism and social equality?
  5. What does social equality mean? Is it only a white Finnish right?
  6. Your party clearly states that it does not want Finland to be culturally and ethnically diverse. (Duh. It already is). If this is the case, and it is, what are you going to do about all those who are not white like you and live in Finland?
  7. Is the PS going to put them in camps, islands and/or send them back to where they, their parents or grandparents came from?
  8. When the PS speaks of making radical changes in immigration law, does this mean that migrants and minorities will become officially treated as second- and third-class citizens before the law?
  9. Tell us specifically what would Finland look like if you had your way in changing immigration law and the constitution? What would you do to people who oppose such changes?

There are many other hard questions that could be asked to PS politicians.

It is our hope and wish that not only the media but many other sectors of Finland wake up to the threat that the PS pose.

One more question to Halla-aho: Do you believe that you will succeed in changing society to fit your ethnonationalist and far-right world view?

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.

STATEMENT: Alternate reality or getting real

STATEMENT 28.2.2020

ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND

SUOMEN VIHARIKOSVASTAINEN YHDISTYS RY

FINSKA ANTI-HARBOTTSORGANISATION RF

This week has been a very sobering moment for some circles in Finland after former Finns Party (PS) Youth second vice president Toni Jalonen admitted that he is “an ethnonationalist, traditionalist, and a fascist.”

But that was only a part of the PS’ circus show. We heard PS MP Ano Turtiainen justifying a civil war if a Christian Democrat MP were convicted of ethnic agitation. There was also PS MEP Laura Hutasaari who labeled members of right-wing parties like the National Coalition Party as communists.

With the PS Youth holding a do-or-die meeting on Saturday to change the bylaws, it may well be that the youth organization may implode and break away from the PS if the bylaw changes do not materialize.

The disconcerted situation of the PS should not surprise us. What can you expect from a party whose only ideology is Islamophobia and other far-right “goodies” like ethnonationalism and massive deportations of Muslims?

The PS lives in a state of an alternate reality upheld by racism and myths. Even so, the rest of society should not look away and bury its head in the sand to challenge the menace that the PS poses on our way of life.

It’s time to get real, assess the threat and act.

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.

STATEMENT: Residential periods for citizenship should be lowered, not increased

The Islamophobic Finns Party (PS) has submitted a draft law that will raise the residential period to get Finnish citizenship to ten years from five years now, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

While wishing to raise the residential period to ten years is nothing new, it is a good example of how the PS wants to retard non-Finns from being full members of society.

The solution to integration is very simple: The faster you grant citizenship, the faster people can become full members of society. If you are a foreigner, you cannot vote in parliamentary and presidential elections.

The PS’ draft law is disingenuous. It states that Finnish citizenship should be granted only to people who we can be sure of that they integrated and that they won’t commit crimes.

PS parliamentary group leader Ville Tavio stated in Helsingin Sanomat that citizenship too quickly. It would be a pull factor for people who cannot find work to bring their families.

Tavio forgets conveniently to state that only about 10% of all foreigners living in Finland came as refugees.

The draft law proposed by the PS has nothing to do with ensuring safety in Finland or saving taxes spent on migrants but to perpetuating the injustice that non-Finns face and who are the mercy of anti-immigration parties like the PS.

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.

Iltalehti does it again: Spreading hatred and degrading asylum seekers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 19, 2020

Finland’s tabloids, Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat, are part of the country’s racism and Islamophobia problem. Back in 2015, Ilta-Sanomat stated on a billboard that 10,000 “illegal refugees” will come to Finland.

This biased and racist journalism exposes how biased and unbalanced some Finnish media is.

In their ever-alarming way to boost sales, Iltalehti led a story with the following headline:

“This is how Finland prepares if a lot of illegal migrants cross the eastern border: ‘People can sleep safely,” Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo is quoted as saying.

The question: Are people crossing the eastern border “illegal migrants” or asylum seekers?

Read the original story (in Finnish) here.
See the original posting (in Finnish) hereIla-Sanomat claims that “this year 10,000 illegal refugees will come to Finland.” Illegal refugees? No such thing. Source: Facebook.

This story was originally published in Migrant Tales.