Around 40% of Finns that have gone to fight for the Islamic State are “native white Finns”

by , under Enrique Tessieri

As the media and politicians in Finland attempt to racialize the Islamic State debate (IS), Helsinki Police Chief Inspector Jari Taponen that about 20 ethnic white Finns have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight, reports YLE in English. Of around 50 that have joined IS from Finland, 6-8 have been killed in the fighting, according to Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO).

A good example of how the ongoing debate in Finland is racialized is how the Taponen and YLE journalist define “ethnic Finn,” or a person whose both parents are white Finns. Does race make a person more prone to join a jihadist organization? Certainly other factors are at play such as social class, educational background and social exclusion.

I wonder what Islamophobic politicians like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party think about this news?

Certainly it busts one myth that all IS fighters are Muslims from the Middle East and Africa.

This reveals that the issue is more complex than simply dividing people by race and religion.

Näyttökuva 2015-1-22 kello 11.29.08

 

  1. Yossie

    Islamization is further than I have feared apparently. It is clear that Islamism is our greatest threat.

    “Certainly other factors are at play such as social class, educational background and social exclusion”

    Or maybe religion? Who has given them the idea to leave I wonder.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Islamization is further than I have feared apparently. It is clear that Islamism is our greatest threat.

      I think you have it completely wrong. Intolerance is our greatest threat, as this divides people and cultures and slows down integration and proper exchange. If intolerance grows, this will fuel greater bitterness among young disenfranchised Muslims and push more them into more radical thinking than might otherwise have been the case.

      Europe is a place where the practice of freedom of religion is fundamental. This is one of those values of freedom that you feel is at threat from radical Muslims, and yet it’s also the first value you would sacrifice in defence of our values? That does not make any sense Yossie.

  2. Yossie

    “If intolerance grows, this will fuel greater bitterness among young disenfranchised Muslims and push more them into more radical thinking than might otherwise have been the case.”

    There will always be bitter, disenfranchised, unemployed or otherwise detached people. I do not believe you can change that. Finnish ones are pretty harmless being at worst alcoholics or drug addicts. Some muslim ones however have caused terrorist attacks and riots. This I see as a biggest threat. Radical islamists will seek to make these people violent and dangerous. Now that they have managed to convert native finns to this. All the more reason to be worried.

    “Europe is a place where the practice of freedom of religion is fundamental”

    People can believe in whatever they want as long as the religion is their personal thing. Islamists and islamization wants to turn our country to a Islamic state like the muslim countries in middle-east.

    ” Intolerance is our greatest threat, as this divides people and cultures and slows down integration and proper exchange”

    What do you seek to accomplish then? People and cultures need to be separate in order to have different cultures. Or is the multiculturalism about fusing in different cultures and see what is left of them in the end? Is it actually about creating one same culture in the end?

    • Mark

      Yossie

      There will always be bitter, disenfranchised, unemployed or otherwise detached people. I do not believe you can change that. Finnish ones are pretty harmless being at worst alcoholics or drug addicts. Some muslim ones however have caused terrorist attacks and riots. This I see as a biggest threat.

      Well, this is quite false. First, several school shootings and bomb attacks in Finland in recent years have been carried out by young native-Finns. And while Finland has a low homicide rate in global comparisons, there are several Muslim countries that have much lower rates of homicide. Across Europe, the vast majority of terrorism related deaths have been carried out in regard to separatist movements, not Islamists. But clearly, it is important not to downplay the threat from Europeans returning from foreign wars bringing brutal and dehumanised proclivities to the heart of Europe.

      People can believe in whatever they want as long as the religion is their personal thing. Islamists and islamization wants to turn our country to a Islamic state like the muslim countries in middle-east.

      Well, here you seem to want to curtail the limits of even basic freedoms. It is the right of any individual to seek any type of society they want in a free and open democracy, even a society that is not free and open. The key thing is that this is a political goal, and not a violent one. Again, on this issue, nationalism, as an ideology, has caused far more violence and deaths in Europe through terrorism than are caused by religious extremists. And that’s not even taking into account two world wars fought when extremist nationalism was rampant in Europe.

      Also, I’ve never actually heard of Muslims in Finland asking for Finland to become the Saudi Arabia of Scandinavia, much less like IS in Iraq/Syria. I guess you don’t see the irony that IS is a largely Sunni phenomenon, and that actually Shia Muslims would certainly not like to see a Sunni minority put in to rule in Finland.

      I have seen some discussions about some cultural practices, dress and banking, but I have not seen any Muslims standing as political candidates on a platform of promising Sharia Saudi Arabia style. So, I can assume that your claim that they want to turn our country into an Islamic State is just pathetically out of touch with reality. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could trot out a few nutters just to convince yourself there is a handful of these people here, but hey, let’s try and be a little bit realistic here.

      People and cultures need to be separate in order to have different cultures. Or is the multiculturalism about fusing in different cultures and see what is left of them in the end? Is it actually about creating one same culture in the end?

      Well, it’s impossible to separate cultures, even North Korea has a problem with bootleg videos and Westernised cultural items being smuggled in from the South and from China. There is always some kind of exchange going on, and it’s not like we are talking about great big monolithic beasts here, even Finnish culture has many strands, and youth culture today looks quite different to that of the 1950s, and could arguably be called more globalised. Of course, cultural identity is likely to become more uniformal through global communications, but at the end of the day, you cannot force people to adopt a culture. You can support historical traditions, but if you start demanding people adopt culture for reasons of preservation, then is this not exactly the kind of thought police you would cricitise in Iran?

      I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating, what we often call culture breaks down into many many different strands of culture. There is traditional culture, urban and suburban culture, arts-related culture, political cultures, consumer cultures and media cultures. And there is vasts diversity within all of these fields of culture. And, often the most ‘cutting edge’ culture is the most subversive, the most likely to be attacking or bucking the establishment culture. It’s not unhealthy either. It’s part of a process of renewal and reinvention, while often reaffirming one’s root values, it also provides a valuable lesson in self-critique and opens the door to improvement.

      I certainly wouldn’t give up this freedom and openness in exchange for a totalitarian religious state. But I’m just surprised at people like yourself who attack a perceived extremism in mainstream Islam in Finland and at the same time, are advocating for MORE cultural dogmatism and preservation of some mythical notion of a monolithic Finnish culture, which isn’t even under threat anyway.

    • Yossie

      “Well, here you seem to want to curtail the limits of even basic freedoms. It is the right of any individual to seek any type of society they want in a free and open democracy, even a society that is not free and open”

      Am I curtailing basic freedoms if I say “no, I do not want that in here”?

      “nationalism, as an ideology, has caused far more violence and deaths in Europe through terrorism than are caused by religious extremists.”

      Lately? Or going way back? Have you included all the religious wars europe went through to that or what are you actually comparing?

      There is a lot of conflicts going on that are essentially religion motivated. Or rather the religion is the dividing factor. US occupation of Iraq is a good example. Different religious groups have been on each others throats the whole occupation. For over a decade. As horrible as Japanese and germans were in WW2, americans had no problems during their occupations.

      “I have seen some discussions about some cultural practices, dress and banking, but I have not seen any Muslims standing as political candidates on a platform of promising Sharia Saudi Arabia style.”

      Start small and demand just keep coming. Although, I imagine the reason is that the muslim population is still too small for them to try. Question would be, what would they do if they were the majority or a major political force? I think arab spring is a good indicator for this. Some dictators went down and islamists were voted to power.

      “But I’m just surprised at people like yourself who attack a perceived extremism in mainstream Islam in Finland and at the same time, are advocating for MORE cultural dogmatism and preservation of some mythical notion of a monolithic Finnish culture, which isn’t even under threat anyway.”

      I´m surprised you have hard time with this. I think you answered this quite well yourself:

      “often the most ‘cutting edge’ culture is the most subversive, the most likely to be attacking or bucking the establishment culture.”

      The thing is, I essentially see muslim culture as most subversive. That does not however mean better as far as I´m concerned (there is no way to objectively compare “betterness” of cultures). Why do you think we always talk about muslims? When we talk about immigration or multiculturalism, we talk about muslims. Even though russians and estonians are bigger immigration groups. We never talk about chinese or thais but we talk about minority S (fix the god damn moderation policy). Why? Because muslim culture is subversive. That is why you have people on defense.

    • Mark

      Am I curtailing basic freedoms if I say “no, I do not want that in here”?

      Haha, well you tell me? Nothing wrong with having an opinion, but if we assume your opinion translated into policy, Finland would return to the dark ages. That’s not an attack on you, I understand you are concerned about your freedoms. But you cannot take away freedom in the name of preserving it, without at some point having to face the obvious contradiction.

      Lately? Or going way back? Have you included all the religious wars europe went through to that or what are you actually comparing?

      You can check for yourself, but looking at the 2008 report for Europol, it states: Separatist terrorist attacks dominate the numbers of terrorist incidents in the EU. A total of 397 [out of 515 total terrorist attacks] separatist terrorist attacks were perpetrated, and 501 suspects were arrested.” In 2014, the reported trend was pretty much the same, though there were only 152 attacks, with the report stating that “As in previous years, the majority of attacks can be attributed to separatist terrorism.”

      Nevertheless, the number of arrests and convictions for terrorists attacks show that Muslim extremists formed 50% of convictions in 2009, and separatists 39%, which does not reflect the actual proportions of attacks by both groups. This does not mean that Islamist attacks were more prevalent, as public perception might interpret from the conviction rate, but rather than police resources are targeted more to catching Islamist terrorists. This trend increased up to 2014.

      So you see, the real picture and the public perception are quite different. Indeed, it’s a bit dangerous to focus so much policing on Islamists when their threat is disproportionate to that policing. It means that more non-Islamist terrorism is going unsolved.

      There is a lot of conflicts going on that are essentially religion motivated. Or rather the religion is the dividing factor. US occupation of Iraq is a good example. Different religious groups have been on each others throats the whole occupation. For over a decade. As horrible as Japanese and germans were in WW2, americans had no problems during their occupations.

      Actually, most security experts see religion as only one factor among many. The problems are geopolitical in the vast majority of cases. Of course, coating these problems as ‘Jihad’, or a generalised religious war is one way in which local groups, operating to local geopolitical conditions, can draw in international fighters, but these fighters form only a small proportion of these local militias or militants/insurgents. Again, while Japan didn’t suffer religious extremism, it did fall victim to a form of nationalism (Japanese Imperialism). Again, thinking that religion is the key or sole threat requires ignoring some very important lessons of history Yossie.

      I think you also have to understand that modern warfare post World War become guerrilla warfare, i.e. insurgency, beginning with Vietnam, then the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and the subsequent wars to follow.

      In the Second World War, guerrilla groups were called resistance movements, but they were effectively the same things that you see in Iraq and Afghanistan, groups dedicated to defeating an occupying power.

      Start small and demand just keep coming.

      I see, so does that mean you are talking about a threat that hasn’t actually been articulated by any individual political group or person, but which you are sure exists? You do realise how nuts that sounds? I might as well accuse Finnish political parties of wanting to annex Sweden, establish a Fourth Reich, and seek the extermination of all Jews on the basis that some of them have give positive praise to Mussolini. I think we should stick to criticising people for what they do say rather than what we think they might like to say in ten years time.

      I think arab spring is a good indicator for this. Some dictators went down and islamists were voted to power.

      Hmm…you do realise that the Islamists in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were quite different entities? The problems for any groupings rising out of the Arab Spring is how to deal with the insecurity that comes after the disbanding of a corrupt army that served a dictatorship. There is no easy answer to this. Likewise, the degree of secular and religious identity involved in politics was hotly contested and still is in all three countries. In that sense, there is no single ‘Islamist’ identity that you can generalise about in regard to political identity. None of the Islamist groups in these countries were advocating anything like the Taliban, but rather a mix of secular and religious institutions. I’m guessing you haven’t done your homework on this topic.

      The thing is, I essentially see muslim culture as most subversive.

      Well, I’m sure you would feel quite different if you were born a Muslim in a Muslim country. And this is what we just have to accept, that people are not always like us, and that some effort has to be made to appreciate and respect different cultures. This idea of cultural superiority infects most nations, though, sad to say.

      Why? Because muslim culture is subversive. That is why you have people on defense.

      Well, 9/11 and subsequent attacks generated a lot of fear, and gave Muslim extremism a far bigger stage than what it would deserve based solely on its actual threat level. Public fear gives rise to pressure on police forces, and subsequent policing work also focuses on these groups, with manpower taken away from dealing with other more significant threats, such as nationalist/separatist/leftist movements with violent agendas. This focus in policing only further fuels the media focus on one group, and before long, the public are saying that it’s just those Muslims. As if this has never happened before in history. It’s called scapegoating, and it’s happened countless times before. Except that it’s extremely dangerous and undermines public cohesion unnecessarily.

      When we talk about immigration or multiculturalism, we talk about muslims.

      Well, nationalist do, at the moment. In the past, they used to focus on Africans. Today it’s Muslims. Tomorrow it might be Russians. Who knows. But to multiculturalists, the clear reality is that diversity comes in all shapes and sizes. It just so happens that the West has stuck a dirty great boot into two Muslim countries in the last decade, which has had a knock on effect also in Syria and North Africa, and that these conflicts have given rise to emigration, population displacement and large numbers of refugees. Surprise surprise.

    • Yossie

      “So you see, the real picture and the public perception are quite different. Indeed, it’s a bit dangerous to focus so much policing on Islamists when their threat is disproportionate to that policing. It means that more non-Islamist terrorism is going unsolved.”

      Seems separatists are rather awful terrorist as we hear nothing of these attacks. What kind of attacks are these then? Does media just ignore mass murder of separatists? Or do they in fact not do them? To me it seems islamist terrorists are far more dangerous. Maybe that’s why they are policed more?

      “Actually, most security experts see religion as only one factor among many”

      So, it is a factor. That is why I find it hard to see the benefits of the multicultural utopia of Enrique. I just see it ending up to internal conflicts when different groups are all big enough.

      “this is what we just have to accept, that people are not always like us, and that some effort has to be made to appreciate and respect different cultures.”

      And I do. I am not going there to muslim countries and tell them how they should live. On the contrary. I believe that certain degree of separation is needed to preserve cultural differences. This is because I actually respect different cultures and don’t want them all to fuse into just one. When I say degree of separation, I mean that for very least there should not be active encouragement of cultural change. That is your so called two way integration and multiculturalism. Also I want to note that despise nothing more than missionaries of any sort.

      “Well, 9/11 and subsequent attacks generated a lot of fear, and gave Muslim extremism a far bigger stage than what it would deserve based solely on its actual threat level.”

      Well, what is the actual threat level? Can’t remember a less policed separatist mass murder in recent memory. Should they not be doing more massacres if they are less policed and a bigger threat?

      “Well, nationalist do, at the moment.”

      I suppose I was not clear about this. What I meant was that if you take an article that buffs immigration and immigrants, its about muslims. Muslims seem to be that face of immigration we see in news papers and more. If there is an article about cultural diversity, the muslims are there to be the poster boys. How many articles do you see us having to two way integrate to Chinese culture? Or Russian? Estonian? The fact that they are by far more prevalent and most demanding culture to integrate makes them the most subversive.

      “It just so happens that the West has stuck a dirty great boot into two Muslim countries in the last decade, which has had a knock on effect also in Syria and North Africa, and that these conflicts have given rise to emigration, population displacement and large numbers of refugees”

      First of all, Syria and north Africa had nothing to do with AMERICAN invasions. They were movements against dictatorships that have ended in internal conflicts because for some reason people in muslim countries that just don’t seem to get along with each other.

      What comes for the American invasions, history will judge George W. Bush. His wars have been very misguided. Now, are the conflicts there still americans fault? Japan and Germany ended up being good places despite American occupation. So there should be a quite a bit of blame for the Iraqis and Afghans too. It is actually quite similar thing happening in all of those countries. Local people just dont get along with each other. Why is not a dialogue to sort their differences work, I wonder.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Seems separatists are rather awful terrorist as we hear nothing of these attacks.

      So, you heard nothing about a Norwegian gentleman obsessed with ethno nationalism executing 77 people for supporting multicultural policies and tolerance in Norway?

      Look, this is not about keeping score. The basic point in my argument is that a lot of focus is given to radical Islamists as if Europe has never faced any kind of violent threat to social cohesion ever. It’s just not true. Suggesting it’s a religious thing is likewise not particularly helpful, as much of the violence in Europe has been nationalist and separatist, or even a clash of political ideologies. These are not reasons to abandon politics, nation states, or religion.

      First of all, Syria and north Africa had nothing to do with AMERICAN invasions.

      Really? I have to disagree. The Arab Spring grew out of the idea that with the fall of Sadam Hussein, that other countries in the region could throw off their own chains of dictatorship, with tacit support from the EU and US.

      They were movements against dictatorships that have ended in internal conflicts because for some reason people in muslim countries that just don’t seem to get along with each other.

      Well, any country can fall into this kind of situation, especially when security breaks down, such as when a ruling party disintegrates.

      Remind me again, Yossie, Finland got independence from Russia in 1917 and by 1918 civil war erupted. In just THREE MONTHS nearly 37,000 people died (killed in action, executed, died in prison camps or just ‘went missing’). It happens Yossie. I wouldn’t get too superior about the whole thing. So, before you start in on Muslims for ‘not getting on with each other’, why don’t you learn a bit of your own history and practice a bit more humility?

    • Yossie

      “Look, this is not about keeping score. The basic point in my argument is that a lot of focus is given to radical Islamists as if Europe has never faced any kind of violent threat to social cohesion ever.”

      I get what you are saying but you think we should focus less on them then? Even after what happen in Paris and fact that many people have left to fight in ranks of ISIS? Best approach is to do less?

      “Really? I have to disagree. The Arab Spring grew out of the idea that with the fall of Sadam Hussein, that other countries in the region could throw off their own chains of dictatorship, with tacit support from the EU and US. ”

      I´m sorry but I have to still disagree with you. What took them so long then? What happen in Tunis started some 8 years after invasion of Iraq. After what happen in Tunis however the arab spring spread out like wildfire. I my opinion, Arab spring was inspired what happen in Tunis, and not what the most powerful armed forces had done some 8 years before.

      “It happens Yossie”

      Sure, I guess, decades of civil war is just normal thing to happen. Didn’t happen in Germany, Japan, nor did it happen after the collapse of Soviet Union.

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