This Facebook post was published with permission. See original posting here.
This Facebook post was published with permission. See original posting here.
What do the attacks against Blue Reform Foreign Minister Timo Soini in Vantaa Sunday and today against Left Alliance MP candidate Suldaan Said Ahmed tell us about today’s Finland? For one, they tell us of a troubled country that has been asleep to the threat of far-right extremism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism.
While we should denounce formally all forms of violence, it is ironic that Soini, who gave xenophobic extremists a political platform, saw a member allegedly of the far-right vigilante gang, Soldiers of Odin, try to attack him.
It is pretty disheartening to see the monster that Soini help created trying to attack him after he had relinquished the PS’ leadership in June 2017 to his foe Jussi Halla-aho.
Ahmed states that the attack against him was by a man in the Itäkeskus metro station.
Apart from the far-right violence that has a strong dose of Islamophobia, graffiti was painted on a mosque in Helsinki with the same words that the New Zealand killer wrote on his weapon that took 50 lives: “Remove kebab.”
The Imam of the Helsinki mosque or prayer room, Abbas Bahmanpour, said that it was the third time the building was recently attacked.
“These types of graffiti show sympathy for terrorists and far-right ideology,” he said.
In Oulu, where another mosque that has been vandalized nine times since September 2017, has now voluntary guards outside the premises after one of the suspects in the sexual assault cases of Oulu was convicted last week.
“Every Friday during prayer time we want to make sure that we are safe,” said Islamic Society of Northern Finland Iman Dr Abul Mannan. “We asked the police to patrol between noon and 1:30 pm when a lot of people at the mosque but they didn’t come. We then decided to take matters in our hands and use our people to guard the mosque.”
Migrant Tales published a story on Saturday about how Muslims in the northern city of Kemi are especially afraid to walk outdoors alone at night after the Oulu sexual assault cases became public in December.
On taking the 8:30 pm bus today to Helsinki from Mikkeli, a white-middle-aged redneck (WhiMAR) started to get too close to a young young woman, possibly from Afghanistan, with an older woman and a young man. It wasn’t clear what the man said to the young woman, but he told his fat WhiMAR friend that, “She’s a good-looking woman even if she wears a rag [hijab].”
I told the WhiMAR to “behave” and stop harassing the woman. He stopped and appeared a little stunned that somebody cared.
On he bus, I told the driver to check with the surveillance camera if the harassment by the man persisted.
Let’s hope that nothing happens.
Migrant Tales reported Thursday about how a deportation had broken and separated a family of three (or four) in the northern Finnish city of Kemi. The family’s father, 58, and son deported on Thursday at around noon to Lebanon while the mother, 56, escaped from the hospital and is now in hiding.
When detained, the woman fell ill and was hospitalized but managed to escape.
Is it correct to say that it is a family of three or four? One of the parents’ sons died of cancer when they came to Finland in 2015 and moved to Kemi.
The woman dreads the prospect of returning to the Middle East because she would never be able to visit her son’s grave again.
A friend, who got in touch with us and who knows the woman, alerted us about the woman’s situation.
“Why do they [Finnish Immigration Service] make our lives so difficult?” she asked the source. “Why don’t they let us stay [in Finland]?”
“She is in limbo fighting against time,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The father and son are ok in Lebanon and the authorities [in that country] pomised them that they would revoke their Lebanese citizenship.”
According to the source, revoking the Syrian-born woman’s citizenship would take three months. It can only happen if a judge of the high court or president of Lebanon approve it.
“It would take [at least three-month] time,” the source continued. “It would mean that she would have to return to Syria, which is very difficult.”
The source said that the woman needs medication but did not know if it was for the heart or blood.
The woman was in better spirits after speaking to her husband and son.
THIS STORY WILL BE UPDATED
The small 50-70 strong Iraqi community of the northern Finnish city of Kemi (pop. 21,256 in 2017) is feeling the brunt of the Islamophobic reaction of the highly publicized sexual assault cases of Oulu, located just 106 km from the city.
Even before the sexual assault cases became public at the end of last year, the situation of the small Iraqi community of Kemi was problematic.
One Iraqi resident of Kemi alleged in 2017 that the Red Cross advised Muslim asylum seekers not leave their homes after eight pm on Saturdays because it was too dangerous.
Apart from the hostile environment against asylum seekers and presence of far-right vigilante groups like the Soldiers of Odin, one asylum seeker was shot at in 2016 and another one had his middle finger broken by a member of the vigilante group.
And let’s not forget Islamophobic Kemi city counsellors like Harri Tauriainen of the Perussuomalaiset* party.
“Matters are now worse [in Kemi] than before because of what happened in Oulu,” said a former asylum seeker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to the Kemi resident, Iraqis fear going out of their homes at night. One asylum seeker who went to Lidl, called the source at 8.30 pm because he feared walking back home at night.
Migrant Tales understands that the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) ordered on Wednesday the detention of three asylum seekers living in the northern Finnish city of Kemi. Two of them, the father and son, were deported Thursday at 12:30 from Helsinki to Lebanon. The wife, who experienced the loss of her son in 2015 due to cancer, has gone into hiding after she escaped from the hospital.
The woman was interned after she fainted and fell ill when the authorities came to detain her, the husband and son in Kemi.
“The son is buried in Kemi and even if Migri wants to deport the women, she refuses to leave the country because she does not want to be far from her deceased son,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The family is from Lebanon but they have lived many years in Syria and are naturalized citizens of that country.”
THIS STORY WILL BE UPDATED.
Have you applied for a rental property from your city but have had to wait for years simply because of your foreign name, while witnessing Finnish names get served within max 6 months? Over 100 cases have been recorded so far.
Have you applied for hundreds of jobs without even getting invited to an interview? Positions that are suddenly filled, once you contact them and they hear your name? Jobs, that are being given to people with half your qualifications… but with a Finnish background?
Have you been stopped and searched by the police supposedly randomly?
Have you had your dreams of higher education slashed by your guidance counsellor and other authorities; been told that you wouldn’t make it and should instead apply to ammattikoulu? Have you worked hard towards becoming a doctor, professor, engineer and so on, only to be recommended you become a lähihoitaja?
Have you been disrespected, called names, abused (verbally, physically, online…) and made to feat that sort of treatment simply because of your name, religion, colour of your skin or the language you were heard talking?
Ignacio Pérez Pérez was kind enough to send us these pictures taken from the Helsinki Railway Station shortly after the atrocities in New Zealand. There is a lot of care and love after so much hate.
Thank you Ignacio for sharing this with us.