Xenophobic online publication MV-lehti founder Ilja Janitski slapped with 22-month prison sentence

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Migrant Tales applauds the sentencing by the Helsinki District Court on Thursday of Ilja Janitski, the founder of the xenophobic website MV-lehti and Uber Uutiset, on 16 criminal charges. Janitski was handed a twenty-two-month prison sentence and with two others found guilty, was ordered to pay the biggest share of damages amounting to 136,000 euros. 

Writes YLE News:  “Some 90 criminal complaints related to the site were filed in connection with the expansive case, including aggravated defamation and ethnic agitation.”

While some, like Professor Matti Tolvanen, see the sentence as a blow to the spread of hate speech in Finland, Migrant Tales is not as optimistic but considers it a right step in the right direction.

The far-right and Islamophobic voice in Finland has found a platform through publications like MV-lehti and the Perussuomalaiset party.*


Read the full story here.

The 16 crimes thatJanitskin was convicted of included: three counts of aggravated defamation; two counts of aggravated incitement against an ethnic group; three counts of copyright infringement; two counts of breach of confidentiality; two counts of illicit gambling charges; and four counts of illicit fundraising charges.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Growing up in a society where racism is the bedrock

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You can hear the following phrase in countries like the United States, but how many Finns do you know who admit that they “grew up in a racist society?”

Believe it or not, I have heard even educators tell me that there is no racism in Finland.

Aminkeng A. Alemanji hit that flawed statement seated in deep denial on the head when he researched Finnish exceptionalism.

A woman of color in Finland was told that she was ethnically “unsuitable” for a job

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In Finland, labor market discrimination is rampant. A woman of color from Rwanda, Alice Mutoni, thought she was about to get hired but things went sour when her probable employer discovered that she was black. He said, “this was a Finnish company selling Finnish things,” according to YLE News. 

The non-discrimination ombudswoman, Kirsi Pimiä,  said that Mutoni’s case was a typical example of workplace discrimination in Finland. She said that her office receives regularly complaints about ethnic- and race-based discrimination.

”We have seen a lot of racism in Finland, and research findings indicate that Finland tops the table when it comes to this type of discrimination in Europe,” Pimiä was quoted as saying to YLE.

 


Read the full story here.

One of the best ways to complain about discrimination in Finland is to raise a storm, like Muoni did.

 

Ali’s journey: Getting married in Turkey and the long wait. Will he get a visa to Finland?

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On 10.10.2018, Ali,* 22, and his Finnish wife, 19, spent one of the most memorable days of their lives when they got married in Ankara. Present at the ceremony were two witnesses, the wife’s sister and a friend of Ali’s. Marriages in Turkey take place at the Turkish Marriage Offices.  

“Everything went smoothly and rapidly,” said Ali. “The justice asked who we were [prove our identity] and if we accepted each other as wife and husband.”

Ali came to Finland as an asylum seeker in 2015 and fell in love with a Finnish woman, whom he had to leave behind because he had five rejections for asylum. Ali was detained and sent on two occasions to the Joutseno immigration removal center.

See links below for more stories about Ali’s life in Finland, his detention, and return to Iraq.

The process of getting married to a Finn if you are an Iraqi can take months and is costly.

“I had to spend 1,000 dollars in Iraq to an agent who helped me get all the connections in Ankara,” he said. “Then, after we got married, we went to a private company that does the interview for the Finnish embassy to apply for the visa. That cost 600 dollars.”

After having done all the paperwork and interviews, Ali said that he expects to wait 6-9 months for the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) to decide whether he will give him a visa or not.

“The Finnish embassy may interview me as in some cases but sometimes they don’t,” he said.  “I’m hopeful that things will go well. It was sad to part but my wife gave me a lot of encouragement.”


The newly weds in Ankara, Turkey.

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Laura Huhtasaari and Ville Tavio: How some sectors of the Finnish Lutheran Church promotes racist discourse

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The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

William Blake (1757-1827)

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* vice-president and MP, Laura Huhtasaari, is keen on building her political career on Islamophobia and polarizing our country into two distinct camps: “us” and “them.” 

Apart from plagairizing 80% of her Master’s thesis, she copy-and-paste jobs of her Islamophobic and anti-immigration rhetoric from the likes of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and US President Donald Trump.

On October 8, Huhtasaari and PS MP Ville Tavio took part in an open talk about asylum policy in Finland at St Michael’s Church (Mikaelinkirkko) of Turku.

I wrote a rebuttal last year to an anti-immigration column written by Tavio published in the Helsinki Times. He never bothered to answer. Like Huhtasaari, Tavio is an admirer of Marine Le Pen’s Islamophobic and openly hostile Front National.

What did the Lutheran Church wanted to gain by inviting two anti-immigration hardliners to debate asylum policy is a mystery to me.

Huhtasaari lets off her usual Islamophobic rants about Muslims at the event:

“I honestly hope that the church defends Christian values, Christians, Christian traditions, otherwise Muslims will wipe out [our Christian way of life].”


See the original Facebook posting here.

While it’s doubtful that two politicians like Huhtasaari and Tavio will help create a better society based on mutual respect and understanding, the real worrisome matter is the reaction of other politicians and society in general.

Mostly silence and turning a blind eye.

* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.

A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

Anti-immigration stances and policies of the United Kingdom will lead to its breakup

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What three countries are officially multicultural? They are Canada, Australia and the UK. In the case of Canada and the UK, these countries adopted multiculturalism as a social policy to avert the breakup of their countries.  

As everyone knows, Canada has a French-speaking Quebec that aspired to become an independent nation. One of the most important roles of Canada’s multiculturalism was to make sure that Quebec remained a part of the country.

And it did.


Read how PM Theresa May deraild the UK’s Brexit process here.

It is the same story for the UK with respect to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Here is the big question: As the UK retreats into its ever-xenophobic and hostile shell of the outside world, will such stances and policies lead to the eventual breakup of the so-called United Kingdom?

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A deportees’ round-trip journey to a former hell and back

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Ali, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is an asylum seeker, was deported with his wife on Tuesday from Helsinki to Baghdad. In Baghdad, he took a plane back to Finland. He is now staying with his wife at an asylum reception center in Greater Helsinki. 

“The journey started at 9:30 am [Tuesday] from Helsinki, where we flew to Paris,” said Ali. “After Paris, we were flown to Amman [Jordan]. The police in Jordan were mean. Even if I pleaded not to send us back to Baghdad, they sent us anyway.”


Instructions given to people who are deported – voluntarily or by force – from Finland to Iraq.

Ali said that both of them felt exhausted after such a long ordeal and trip.

The Iraqi asylum seeker, who came to Finland in 2015 and who has five rejections for asylum from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), said that he was applying fora car mechanic job opening in Helsinki.

“My chances to try out for the job ended because I was deported,” he said. “I want to work and live off my own money in Finland.”

Ali and his wife don’t know what will be their fate and awaits them in Finland.