By Enrique Tessieri
Remember Black February? Over about three weeks we read about the deaths of three Muslims , a suicide and a Perussuomalaiset (PS) councilman who offered to give a medal to a white Finn for killing one of these victims in cold blood. On Monday Migrant Tales had the opportunity to meet the father and a family friend of one of the victims, Abdisalam Mohamed Abdulah.
The first thing that you notice when you meet Abdisalam’s father is his grief. Anguish inhabits all of Mursal Abdulah: It’s in his eyes, in his face, in his posture, in his voice, in his persona.
The death of his eighteen-year-old son was such a strong blow that he is still recovering from the shock when two policemen broke the tragic news to him and his wife on a Friday February 17 at 10am.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he said returning to that terrible moment of his life. “My wife fainted.”
Abdisalam’s father and wife were in the first group of Somali refugees that came to Finland in August 1990 by train from the former Soviet Union. Their son was born in Finland. Abdisalam was a good athlete, student and son, according to his father.
“He [Abdisalam] planned to study medicine,” he continued. “I was ready to send him abroad so he could become a doctor.”
Abdisalam Mohamed Abdulahi was a Manchester United fan. In August he would have turned nineteen.
The last time that Abdisalam’s father saw his son was on Thursday night. “His last words were that he was going to take a shower, go to a [high school] party and return,” he said. “He never did.”
Abdulah isn’t at all happy with how the police have handled the case. Apart from not expressing any empathy for the parents’ grief, it was difficult to get any information from them about the crime.
“We were treated coldly and felt like we were the criminals,” he said. “The police appeared to be more concerned about keeping the case under wraps because they feared a revenge attack by Somalis.”
Abdulah says that if a crime were committed by a Somali it would have received a lot of media attention.
“The thing that struck us the most was when we went to the police station,” he said. “The same information that they wouldn’t give us, we then read in the tabloids right after we left the police station. How is it possible that the papers knew more about Abdisalam’s death than us?”
Abdisalam’s death happened between midnight and 7am. The suspect and the victim were school acquaintances. Abdulahi says that his son died from a mortal blow to the head. The suspect’s father was present at the crime scene as well.
I asked Abdulahi if he feels that justice will be done? “I don’t know,” he said trying to be diplomatic. “I’m not sure that I trust the police.”
One of the matters that the father has a big question mark is the complicity of the father in the whole affair. He doesn’t believe the police that the father was not an accomplice in the crime. “Abdisalam was big and physical compared with the attacker,” Abdulah said. “There must have been somebody else helping him [that could have been the father].”
A friend of the family present at the interview speaks.
“The worst thing in Finland is that if you have a different religion, culture and language, you are left on the fringes of society,” he said. “No matter how much you try to integrate you are always left outside.”
Abdulah concludes: “Those Somalis that went to Australia and Canada are living better lives than I in Finland. All I have to show for over twenty years in Finland is a cold country with long winters and the death of my son.”
Migrant Tales expresses to the parents, relatives and friends its condolences for Abdisalam.