MTV3: Rasistit joutumassa uuden hallituksen silmätikuiksi

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: After calls last week by President Tarja Halonen for the new government to make a pledge to combat growing racism in Finland, it appears that not only most political parties but the public are taking a more vociferous stand against this social ill.

One matter that the victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) brought to the table with the election of people like Teuvo Hakkarainen, Jussi Halla-aho and others is that Finland can no longer deny that racism is a minor problem that will go away by itself.

Finland’s ever-growing polarization due to the PS victory in April has had a positive impact on parties like the Greens and Left Alliance, which have seen their membership soar by 45% and 13%, respectively.

Some PS politicians are politically off track if they believed that a few xenophobic blog writings would turn Finland into a subsidiary of the Danish People’s Party or the Sweden Democrats.

The embarrassing episodes that have been splashed in the country’s tabloids and newspapers only a month and a half after the election show that the PS are going to face a very rough four years. 

Just as pain tells a wounded soldier that he is still alive, Finland’s reaction to the PS shows that it will not tolerate free-fall racism and populism.

____________

Rasismin rajoittaminen voi saada uusia aseita seuraavassa hallitusohjelmassa. Kovempia otteita vauhdittaa muun muassa viimeaikainen julkisuuskohu perussuomalaisten kansanedustajan Teuvo Hakkarainen lausunnoista.

Read whole story.

  1. David

    ‘”Some PS politicians are politically off track if they believed that a few xenophobic blog writings would turn Finland into a subsidiary of the Danish People’s Party or the Sweden Democrats”

    As the previous government had no issue with bringing forward new asylum laws due to the influence of the the Swedish democrats and Danish peoples party in their countries which left Finland’s asylum polices open to abuse.
    Are you suggesting that the new Finnish government will stand up and reject populist parties if they are home grown, but they would continue to have the view that populist polices parties from outside Finland have a different kind of populism which is acceptable t. And as you know post election the PS had around 4.0 % of vote and the government where playing the populist game, can you now see them stop playing this game when they have a new team member who can bring 19% of the vote to the team. A team member who,can stop the game if they do not follow the same rules as the previous government .

  2. Allan

    Some PS politicians are politically off track if they believed that a few xenophobic blog writings would turn Finland into a subsidiary of the Danish People’s Party or the Sweden Democrats.

    Some blog writers are quite silly, assuming that a party like PS who got 19,1% =39/200 seats in the parliamentary vote, would be playing second fiddle in comparison to parties like the 13,8% DPP =25/179 let alone 5,3% SD 20/349

    Regarding the membership numbers, the Greens are, if not the only party, keeping a decent tally, zeroing their membership numbers yearly and seeing who actually is bothered to pay the membership fees.

    Puolue Jäsenmäärä vuonna 2011
    Keskusta 163 000
    SDP 50 000
    Kokoomus 41 000
    RKP 28 000
    KD 13 000
    Vasemmistoliitto 9 100
    Perussuomalaiset 5 000
    Vihreät 4 600

  3. David

    There is also another issue that i do think has been addressed, that the SDP leadership dropped its “No bailout” view to get its self into government. This may have not sat well with some SDP parliament members, and there is a possibility if the PS becomes more than a one issue party and if the EU pandering continues (which it will) from the largest two parties that some MPs may jump ship and join the PS . And with only a handful of seats separating the three biggest parties this could cause serious problems for a collation government . All the larger parties have said that would work with the PS over the next coming parliamentary term. This is expected from the larger parties of a collation who know turning their back on the PS or when they are only separated by only a handful of seats ,condemning their views would not be a wise choice. SDP and Kokomus live in reality when it come to PS unlike many who see PS through a comfort zone and because of this they are always of touch with the reality of the situation

  4. David

    Or it could be that SDP and kokoomus have not spoken out against the PS polices as they see what PS immigration polices are ?

    They are sensible, because they are based around an awareness of the reality of 2011 Finland

    • Enrique

      David, what “PS policies do you think Kokoomus and SDP should embrace?” Do you mean the Nuiva manifesto? What is “the reality of 2011 Finland?” That we should go around insulting immigrants and ethnic groups? Attack minorities like Swedish-language Finns? Is this what you call the “reality of 2011 Finland?”

  5. Yossie

    Enrique

    Have you even read the manifesto? First of all it doesnt say anything about swedish speaking finns and pretty much the most hardcore stuff against swedish speakers is that we should let us decide if we want to study swedish or some other language. It feels really funny when same people think multiculturalism is awesome but at the same time they are against having more option to your language choices.

    Aslo the manifest isnt anything about insulting immigrants. Its just that we shouldnt pay for every special service they want and stop being fooled by those who abuse the system.

  6. David

    The asylum system is being abused. Which the previous government where aware of s and have being changing the laws to decreases this or to stop this. this is the reality of the asylum system in 2011. So for the SDP and Kokoomus parties to reject the asylum part of “Nuiva” would be a very hypocritical move. PS want to ban begging in Finnish city’s which is the reality of misguided EU expansion. Before the election there was plans to bring a ban in ,but many MPs rejected it as pointless and not tough enough which could seen as a statement which would come straight from PS. Also with EU expansion there is very serious crime taking place by people “living” in Finland do you think that a response about this from kokoomus would be the same to the response from PS ? . SDP may be a different case but kokoomus would not take a negative view with many issues which the PS have with immigration as they share similar if not the same. In Finland immigration is now a genuine issue which is on the level as Taxes, Schools, Heath and other issue. and you fail to see this and still think it is still a socially taboo subject shared only by a handful of people and thats why your many times of the mark . If a political party can score a election victory (PS) by talking about immigration and another party can loss a election (Keskus) by not talking about is this not the “Reality of 2011 Finland”

    • Enrique

      David, just like I asked Yossie, could you tell us how the asylum system is being abused and why our officials so blind? Do you have any figures of those that got asylum that abused the system as you claim?

  7. Allan

    What is “the reality of 2011 Finland?” That we should go around insulting immigrants and ethnic groups?

    Is this “insulting” voicing the truth about them? Reality hurts.

  8. David

    Where as other countries asylum laws became more tougher, Finland became one of the countries in the EU which gave more money support to asylum seekers than many other EUs countries , it had a longer waiting process for asylum clams than other countries. And as Finland receives on average 3-4-5 thousand claims for asylum over the last few years and only under 100 are having what is “Genuine” grounds for asylum, the other claims are individuals using the asylum system for economic reasons and a way to gain entry into Finland . Since Finland has become more tougher and less generous on asylum the numbers have dropped. If theses peoples illegal entry was “Genuine” claims for asylum then the numbers wound have not decreased as economics would not be a factor for their claim, but since the economic benefit has been less generous there has been a decreases which shows that this was the reason for Finland rise in asylum claims over the last few years. It was a sensible move which will save Finland a huge amount of money in the coming years. And as this was done without the influence of PS who also would have done the same thing, I can not understand how you can say that MPs are rising against PS because PS are wanting to do what others have already done already.

    • Enrique

      David, could you please tell me where you are getting this information? Scripta? Hommaforum? Hirvisaari?

      –I can not understand how you can say that MPs are rising against PS because PS are wanting to do what others have already done already.

      When it comes to immigration policy, the PS is a populist party that has strong ties with Nazi-spirited associations like Suomen Sisu. From what I can gather, their immigration policy suggests that it was written by a person with low self-esteem. Don’t you agree?

  9. JusticeDemon

    David

    As you seem to well informed about the asylum system, please explain how a person displaced by war or environmental catastrophe can secure shelter without applying for asylum.

    It would be helpful if you could specify the paragraph in the Aliens Act that governs such applications.

    After you have searched for this and realised that there is no such paragraph, then you can come back here and apologise for writing ill-informed bullshit.

    Finland could greatly reduce the number of “asylum” claims by providing a direct procedure for seeking humanitarian shelter on collective grounds. Alternatively, it could revise the statistics by no longer counting applications as asylum claims when the applicant does not rely on a fear of individual persecution.

    If you think that people can be returned to areas where their lives are endangered by war, then perhaps you would volunteer to go to these places yourself and demonstrate that the bullets are not really harmful to health. If you feel that the reluctance of a country to provide clearance for repatriation is not a serious impediment to expulsion, then perhaps you will volunteer to serve as an escort in such cases and face whatever consequences the destination country chooses to exact on foreigners who facilitate unlawful border incursions.

  10. ElGreco

    Immigration was always an issue in Finland. Even back in the 80’s when Finland had only 10.000 foreigners. “Way to many” according to racist Fins. Now racism finds it’s excuse in the terrorist scare and everybody knows that 911 was an inside job and Osama Bin Laden had nothing to do with 911 nor Sadam with Al Qaeda and yet those lies were invented to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and kill over 200.000 people. THAT I call terrorism. Yes Finland is a magnet for “lazy” refugees who abuse the system. How come then that Denmark has 10 times more Muslims than Finland and Greece ( that gives no money to refugees ) has 15 times more foreigners per million citizen? Finland has more human rights violation convictions by the European Court of Human Rights than 15 times bigger Germany pending cases and more convictions than the rest of Scandinavia. Finland has 5 times more human rights violation convictions by ECHR than Russia if we compare it to population size. Finland has even a Nazi party as of 2011. Not that the “Persut” PeruSSuomalaiset and their “SS” are very far from it.

  11. Arto

    Enrique:
    You certainly produce a lot of text.

    “One matter that the victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) brought to the table with the election of people like Teuvo Hakkarainen, Jussi Halla-aho and others is that Finland can no longer deny that racism is a minor problem that will go away by itself.”

    OK, so you claim once again that Juss Halla-aho is a racist. Could you please indicate even some evidence of it. I first got interested in Halla-aho’s writings to find out more about the grounds of such claims since I hate racism, but found no evidence whatsoever. If you have no evidence either, I think you are guilty of defaming Mr. Halla-aho. Racism is a serious accusation that should not be used lightly.

    Certainly at this point you must understand that critical attitude to certain kind of immigration is not racism as such. Neither is critical attitude to religions. Immigration can be opposed on racist grounds, but this does not make all critic racism based.

    “When it comes to immigration policy, the PS is a populist party that has strong ties with Nazi-spirited associations like Suomen Sisu.”

    About this claim, could you provide some evidence about the “nazi spiritness” of Suomen Sisu. I do not know the organization well, do you? Could you give some reference to any evidence, other than your own writings?

    Could you please also give examples about these other Nazi-spirited associations PS has strong ties to? I would like to be better informed as I have not seen such claims in the mainstream media.

    Have you ever thought that some people might be honestly worried about the development of the society and the potential threat of islamism, for example? Have you ever thought it might be better to be safe than sorry – that is, examine the consequences thoroughly and having a perspective of at least tens of years in these considerations, and only then make decisions about immigration policy? I am one of these people. I do not have fixed attitudes about immigration, I have only recently started to study the issue. I am not a racist. But I am worried about the consequences that bad immigration policy could have to our society. I have the right to be worried – I have the right to ask questions. Don’t I? I will make my mind based on the answers I will find.

    If there was a fictional, major immigration group of national socialists, would you still welcome them to our country without hesitation? Now, consider islam and its views of equality of man and woman, rights of homosexuals, freedom of religion. See anything similar? Anything totalitarian? And this does not give any reason to be a slightest bit cautios about this group when deciding about immigration policy?

    Have you read for example this quite alarming news from Britain: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/jan/07/broadcasting.channel4

    • Enrique

      Arto, JusticeDemon answered a part of your thread comprehensively. As with respect to what “Nazi spirited” means, I suggest you do what I did a while back: read history.

      Like many people, I too grew up knowing about the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. I hadn’t read enough to really understand the full scope of these outlandish crimes against humanity. My starting point was the Nuremberg Trials. When you get a good book on the trials, try to study each of the former Nazis. Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Robert Ley and many others come to mind as well who were not put on trial because they either committed suicide or were killed by partisans.

      Once you read about these people and learn to understand a little the mindset of Nazi Germany, only then you will begin to comprehend what Nazi spirited really means.

      Nazism was responsible for dragging us into a war that caused the death of about 40 million people. That shows a bit the potential of hatred and racism through an ideology like Nazism.

  12. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    Let’s do some gentle scratching and find out what’s under the surface of your critical attitude.

    Why does your critique of Islam focus entirely on first generation immigrants? There have been Moslems living in Finland since at least the latter half of the 19th century.

    What’s so special about Islam as the focus of this criticism? Halla-aho has declared Se, että islam on pedofiiliuskonto, ei ole yllätys, koska jo uskonnon perustaja Mohammed oli pedofiili. Now open your Old Testament at Chapter 19 of the Book of Genesis (here quoting from the KJV):

    5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

    6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

    7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

    8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

    Christianity reveres Lot as a righteous man of God. This is the same Lot who here offers up his young daughters to be raped.

    Incidentally, Lot is also a prophet of Islam, but is most certainly not revered in the Old Testament context.

    Now why does Halla-aho not concern himself with Christians, and particularly fundamentalist Christians?

    If this is meant to be a criticism of religion in general, then why the exclusive focus on Islam, and why in the specific context of immigration?

    There is also this little gem:

    Vaka vanha Väinämöinen tuop’ on tuossa tuomitsevi:
    “Kun lie poika suolta saatu, maalta marjasta si’ennyt,
    poika maahan pantakohon, marjamättähän sivulle,
    tahi suolle vietäköhön, puulla päähän lyötäköhön!”

    Obviously the police of all other countries should be alerted to the infanticidal tendencies of this Finnish religious hero.

    So – answer the question: why the exclusive focus on Islam when the modern observer can find seriously reprehensible features in nearly all ancient religious traditions, and why the exclusive focus on Islam in the context of immigration?

  13. Allan

    JD – the difference is, find me anyone who takes Kalevala as their true religion, rather than a story collection?

  14. Arto

    Enrique: I am well informed about the crimes of the Nazis and I fully understand their severity. That is why saying “Nazi-spirited” is itself a very serious accusation. I cannot deny that you could be right about Suomen Sisu, since I do not know them well. But I was thinking you perhaps had some concrete evidence, as well as about Halla-ahos racism.

    You also did not provide the examples of other nazi-spirited organizations you mentioned. Is it possible that such connections don’t actually exist?

    JD, I would be pretty much equally worried about a fundamental Christian groups than I am about islam. This is not to say that all muslims would be fundamentalists, but at this point I have understanding that much lesser part of muslims are secularized and there is the potential danger to liberal values – especially when combined to too humble attitude and too much “understanding” (cultural relativism) in host countries. I am sure you know about partriarchal islamic sociaties like Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to vote or even drive cars… Yes, today in this very same World!

    JD and Enrique, did you read the link I provided:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/jan/07/broadcasting.channel4

    This illustrates quite clearly what I am worried of about islamism. Is there a reason to believe this would not happen in Finland? Why?

    • Enrique

      Arto, I did not imply that you did not know the severity of the crimes by the Nazis. What I meant was that everyone should broaden even more their historical information of those times. I had read history and seen countless documents on World War 2 but I had read too little about the actual players. That is why I suggested that a good place to start would be the Nuremberg Trials. Another person worth trying to read up on is Rudolf Hoess.

      But let’s go to the term Nazi spirited and what it means. It probably means a group that holds the same values as the Nazis in matters like “white power” Even if groups like Suomen Sisu will not be that vocal about “white power” like Nazi groups in the US, they discourage Finns from marrying non-Finns. One of the basis of Nazism was, as you well know, “blood and race.” Nazism is the antithesis of multiculturalism. Suomen Sisu despises multiculturalism. If the KRP and Supo have come to such a conclusion, I suspect they have good reason.

  15. Allan

    “Nazism was responsible for dragging us into a war that caused the death of about 40 million people.”

    Of course Communism is totally innocent, even it has lasted longer and killed more.

    • Enrique

      Allan, Stalin was also responsible for purging millions of his enemies. However, no single regime ever killed systematically so many of its enemies as Heinrich Himmler and his henchmen. I am not justifying Communism never mind Nazism.

  16. Allan

    Absolutely, Allan. Now why can’t you apply the same standard to immigrants?
    As long as they treat their storybook as storybooks, surely.

  17. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    There are degrees of secularisation, but more importantly there are various ways of understanding religious tradition, religious life and membership of a religious community.

    The law in Finland still restricts the right of many shopkeepers to open their establishments on Sunday mornings, and a wide range of businesses must remain closed on ecclesiastical holidays. If you want to describe Finland as secularised in an absolute either/or sense, then you will have to explain the persistence of this and other phenomena of self-evidently religious origin.

    More importantly, there are varying styles of religious observance. Plenty of Moslems make a point of observing the Holy Month but do not necessarily adhere to a daily prayer schedule and so on.

    The point is that Moslems have been living in Finland for over a century, so why should Islam become an issue only in relation to recent immigrants? If the grounds for criticism are a certain style of religious observance, then why does this criticism again focus exclusively on immigrants? Finland has its fair share of fundamentalist and traditionalist Christians. Where was Halla-aho when Helsinki YMCA was the subject of a police investigation for promoting child abuse?

    If someone in Sweden started a political blog based on the right to be critical of some social phenomenon, but then focused attention exclusively on alcohol-related antisocial behaviour by Finnish-speaking males, then you could rightly argue that the blogger had another agenda above the stated.

    When I found parallels to the current PS anti immigration rhetoric in Swedish tabloid headlines from the early 1970s (En Finne igen / finnjävel) I was instantly accused of racism against Finns. Are you seriously suggesting that all the Swedes needed to do was to claim that they were engaged in a factual debate about the merits of immigration policy and the charge of racism would be refuted?

  18. Arto

    Enrique, thanks for clarifying. I have seen this Supo reference before, I guess their analysis is not public, however? It is a pity.

    JD, I have no intention to glorify Christianity in any way. I am Christian only nominally. I know we have fundamentalist groups in Finland which I find sad for them. But I have got an understanding that islam is way more expansive than Christianity today.

    You still did now answer whether you read the link I provided or not. Why does immigration matter? Because together with demographic development, it could potentially lead to islamization of Europe – an islamic majority. Who can say it will be “European, secularized, civilized” Islam in the long run, instead of fundamentalistic, Taleban-like or Saudi-Arabian style islam?

    I have seen predictions of original Europeans becoming minority in their own countries within just a few generations, muslims becoming the majority. I am surprised if this means nothing to you. Or do you feel it is unrealistic to predict so?

    We have freedom of religion, yes. That is why immigration policy is basically the only way to affect this development if we so choose.

    • Enrique

      –I have seen predictions of original Europeans becoming minority in their own countries within just a few generations, muslims becoming the majority. I am surprised if this means nothing to you. Or do you feel it is unrealistic to predict so?

      Arto, this is a long topic we can discuss but the same fears were expressed by whites in the United States about blacks and Hispanics. In the first place, you assume that cultures don’t change over time which is wrong. Moreover, if predicting the future of society was as easy as taking a pocket calculator, why would we need sociologists and other experts. Just take out that calculator and the future will reveal itself.

  19. Arto

    Enrique: “Arto, this is a long topic we can discuss but the same fears were expressed by whites in the United States about blacks and Hispanics.”

    Sounds like a racial issue more than a cultural, religious or political issue. Or am I mistaken?

    “In the first place, you assume that cultures don’t change over time which is wrong. ”

    Where did I say so? But it is an entirely different thing to replace one culture with another. Muslims have been in war with Europeans, as you know about history of Spain, for example. But this time, it might just happen differently.

    “Moreover, if predicting the future of society was as easy as taking a pocket calculator, why would we need sociologists and other experts. Just take out that calculator and the future will reveal itself.”

    No, it is not easy, and that is exactly why we need open discussion and studies about the subject.

  20. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    There are fundamentalist strains in all Semitic religious traditions. An orthodox Jew would thank God every morning that he was not born a slave, a Gentile or a woman. The subordinate role of women in traditional Christianity is very much a live issue nowadays, and it is not so long ago that the following passage from the First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy (KJV) was taken as the final word on the status of women in the western world:

    9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

    10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

    11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

    12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

    14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    The question is why we would choose to seek out these patterns of thinking and exaggerate them. We might also consider what conditions encourage these patterns to emerge.

    For some insight into Christian fundamentalism, you could Google for “the American Taliban” -Lindh (to exclude references to John Walker Lindh).

    The most powerful force working against fundamentalist and traditionalist thinking lies within the religious community itself. Indiscriminate external attacks on religious communities are profoundly unhelpful to this work.

    None of this justifies the exclusive focus on traditionalist Islam in specific context of immigration. If you want to debate with Islam in Finland, then the place to start is with the people who have practiced Islam in Finland for over a century. If you want to debate on traditionalist and fundamentalist strains of religious observance, then the obvious place to start is with organisations like Suomen Luther-säätiö and people like Olavi Rimpiläinen.

    The impression that we get from PS is that they don’t have the nous or the patience to contribute to this process, but instead they are only interested in finding a stick to beat immigrants. If I focused similarly on alcohol abuse, homicide and suicide when discussing the merits of the Finns, then you would bark at me for racism. Why, then, is it not similarly racist to focus on outdated elements of Islamic tradition when discussing immigrants?

    We have discussed demographics before. No reputable authority concurs with your view and there are plenty of anecdotal counterexamples. I already mentioned the Laestadians, who by your logic should have become the dominant religious and cultural group in Finland by now. Take a look at the birth rate of Turkish immigrants in Germany and you will notice that it has fallen rapidly towards the national average. It seems to me that all you are trying to do is resurrect the old they breed like rats argument, and you should already be familiar with the most notorious example of this way of thinking as a propaganda tool (some familiar themes here from about 14.40 onwards).

  21. Arto

    JD, thank for your response. I need to have a look at the video later – I hope you will do the same for the link I provided (since you have not commented it so far).

    “The impression that we get from PS is that they don’t have the nous or the patience to contribute to this process, but instead they are only interested in finding a stick to beat immigrants.”

    Well, at least Halla-aho has been quite thorough examining islam/islamism and also writing about it for years. I would not blame him for the lack of patience, at least.

    “Why, then, is it not similarly racist to focus on outdated elements of Islamic tradition when discussing immigrants?”

    Simply because those elements are not outdated in islam and many islamic teocraties. This is the big difference.

    If we were still devoted catholics in Finland, I am sure our society would be quite different. Religious reformation was one step towards more liberal situation, and secularization has been the most important step (despite the fact that secularization is not 100%, as you pointed out). If power of islam increases, this could turn the wheels back. I would not be happy to see the American style Christian fundamentalism here either. For me, this is not about conflict of religions but a potential conflict of islam and liberal western democracies. After all, it is part of islamic dogma to conquer the non-believers… This makes me worried and willing to learn about this subject.

    Your Turkish immigrant example is interesting and relevant. If you have similar references to other islamic groups, I would be interested in any reference.

  22. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    I have commented, and in some detail. The fact that you think that I haven’t suggests that you didn’t understand the linked article.

    Halla-aho has not engaged with Islam as it has been practiced in Finland for more than a century. He has only engaged with an imaginary traditionalist/fundamentalist immigrant who cannot answer back, and he does not appear to have done so in order to stimulate constructive dialogue. He has also not addressed the same issues of traditional misogyny, child abuse etc. as they have arisen in the Christian and Jewish traditions both in Finland and elsewhere.

    In terms of my previous analogy, this is like discussing the abuse of alcohol in Sweden based solely on the conduct of Finnish drunks.

    Comparable elements are similarly not “outdated” in mainstream Christianity and Judaism. Islam does not have a monopoly on traditionalism or fundamentalism.

    If Halla-aho was genuinely interested in these issues, then he would be engaged in calm and rational discussion with established religious communities in Finland. Instead, he seems to be scared of these groups, preferring to confine his activities to the sphere of commenting in Finnish about the allegedly barbaric religious convictions of immigrants only. This is worse than my example above concerning a debate on alcohol abuse in Sweden that only comments on the behaviour of Finnish-speaking drunks, because Halla-aho’s debate on religion effectively excludes the very people that it concerns.

    Many Conservative commentators complain that secularisation has undermined social cohesion. The most obvious symptom of this is the medicalisation and institutionalisation of care in old age. It is illegal in Finland to abandon your child, but perfectly lawful to abandon your elderly parent. Indeed immigration rules even seem to enforce such abandonment. That this evident violation of the 4th Commandment (the 5th if you are Orthodox) occurs in a nominally Christian country is something that utterly appalls the members of many religious communities both domestic and immigrant.

    It’s a general truism of demographics that the birth rates of immigrant groups tend towards the national average. This merely reflects a more general point about the economic and social causes of high birth rates. Important demographic factors include infant mortality, housing, the degree of industrialisation, and arrangements for ensuring security in old age.

  23. Arto

    “I have commented, and in some detail. The fact that you think that I haven’t suggests that you didn’t understand the linked article.”

    Really? I would have appreciated a reference, since to me it seems you only commented my arguments instead of the article. I did not notice you commenting on the essential contents of the article: the hateful and fundamentalist preaching in mosques in Britain, directed even against British people quite outrageously, and encouraging to follow the laws of Islam over the laws of Britain.

    “He has also not addressed the same issues of traditional misogyny, child abuse etc. as they have arisen in the Christian and Jewish traditions both in Finland and elsewhere.”

    Do you see an expansive tendency of such religions that would be comparable to that we see on Islam?

    “In terms of my previous analogy, this is like discussing the abuse of alcohol in Sweden based solely on the conduct of Finnish drunks.”

    No, it’s not. It is a completely different thing to be worried about influence to our laws and liberal values. After all, we are so humble people that we censor ourselves even if nobody is asking us to do that: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espoon_betoniporsaat

    “Islam does not have a monopoly on traditionalism or fundamentalism.”

    Do you see comparable expansive tendency of other such religions?

    “Many Conservative commentators complain that secularisation has undermined social cohesion. ”

    Secularization did not bring only good to us. As Timo Vihavainen writes in his book “Länsimaiden tuho” (my translation “Destruction of the West), we live in a vacuum of values. According to Vihavainen, such a vacuum tends to be filled. He is worried about expansion of Islam.

    “It’s a general truism of demographics that the birth rates of immigrant groups tend towards the national average. This merely reflects a more general point about the economic and social causes of high birth rates. Important demographic factors include infant mortality, housing, the degree of industrialisation, and arrangements for ensuring security in old age.”

    I am aware of these factors, but not sure that the cultural differences would not have a remarkable effect here (you already mentioned Laestadians, for which this is not true). But I have not studied the issue enough so far to make a statement. I will.

    • Enrique

      –Do you see an expansive tendency of such religions that would be comparable to that we see on Islam?

      Even if we don’t go around crusading as Christians today, check out Iraq and Afghanistan. Our culture, religion and our views are in every bullet a soldier fires at the so-called enemy. If you invade a country like Iraq and kill an estimated 600,000 people I’d take that to be a very hostile action.

  24. Arto

    “If you invade a country like Iraq and kill an estimated 600,000 people I’d take that to be a very hostile action.”

    This is a different subject. I was talking about expansion of Islam to Europe, and more specifically to Finland. And I was asking JD if there are other religions with similar expansion tendency that would be a reason not to focus too much on islam in this debate as JD suggests.

    Blaming USA for imperialism is often very well founded, but what does this have to do with future of Finland? We do not have to pay anything back for anyone because of USA’s actions.

    • Enrique

      When you speak of the expansion of Islam in Europe, what are your sources? Who is making this claim?

      Sorry Arto, but if I went back to the 1930s the same claim was made of Jews; ie that they were parasites and had taken over Europe through their evil ways.

  25. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    Evangelical traditionalist and fundamentalist Christianity mirrors everything that you see in radical Islam and more besides. I already referred you to the American Taliban and to the gender role and child abuse issues that arose not so long ago at Helsinki YMCA.

    About 1.4 billion people are at least nominally Islamic and about 2.2 billion are at least nominally Christian. Given the history of these religious traditions, it would be very strange indeed if they did not include some lunatic fringe elements, but it is thoroughly dishonest to characterise any population group by the standards of its fringe elements.

    This takes us back to our discussion of the Finns based on the viinanystävyysseura element in Sweden. If I say that I want to talk about immigrants, but then deliberately confine the discussion to Finnish-speaking drunks, then it’s fair to conclude that what I really want to do is spread racist invective concerning a specific population group. This remains so even if I express concern that alcohol-related problems have an expansive tendency that does not seem to exist in the Swedish-speaking nuuskanystävyysseura.

    I am really curious how much you know about Islam and whether you have any Moslem friends and acquaintances.

  26. Arto

    JD: “I already referred you to the American Taliban”

    Yes, but “American Taliban” is not moving to Finland, is it?

    “and to the gender role and child abuse issues that arose not so long ago at Helsinki YMCA.”

    We have internal problems that we need to handle. But that does not make adopting external problems any more desirable.

    “it would be very strange indeed if they did not include some lunatic fringe elements, but it is thoroughly dishonest to characterise any population group by the standards of its fringe elements.”

    Well, in Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to vote and there is a long going debate about whether they should be allowed to drive cars. Hijabs are used in women’s clothing even among European muslim immigrants and in Britain preachers tell to “hit girls for not wearing the hijab”. In Egypt, women who participated the demonstrations for getting rid of the president, are now subject to virginity testing (!). And so on. These things are real, not just some marginal elements. There are whole socities suffering from these downsides. It is a mixture of religion and politics, but who says it will not be so in Europe as well?

    “I am really curious how much you know about Islam and whether you have any Moslem friends and acquaintances.”

    I cannot say I would know a lot of islam. What about you?

    If I had a (secularized) muslim as my friend, would it make a difference somehow? It certainly would not be a problem for me. It is not a matter of individuals, but I believe religion is an accident for these people – especially women. So are many other religions.

  27. Arto

    JD: One comment on this still “I am really curious how much you know about Islam and whether you have any Moslem friends and acquaintances.”

    I know several Laestadian people and in general, they have been very nice to me. This does not change my view that their religion sucks.

    Enrique: “When you speak of the expansion of Islam in Europe, what are your sources? Who is making this claim?”

    I think many people are making this claim – an even more would, if this would not be such a taboo. One example is prof. Timo Vihavainen and his book “Länsimaiden tuho”. Here are some interesting statistics and prediction for 2030 (see “Projections”): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Europe .

    But I admit I am only in the beginning of studying the whole issue. I hope you still get something to think of from commentary.

    “Sorry Arto, but if I went back to the 1930s the same claim was made of Jews; ie that they were parasites and had taken over Europe through their evil ways.”

    No doubt about that, but this does not mean we should close our eyes about how the world evolves. There have also been wars before and very few people wish for another war. Still they will come.

    • Enrique

      One of the problems, Arto, about people who make such predictions is that they have a simplistic view of cultures. They assume that people don’t change and therefore people of certain cultures are guided like robots without free will. Another common characteristic of the anti-Muslim groups is that they make the same argument: these people are so different from us that they will never conform to our society. Is this true? I don’t think so. Our societies permit cultural diversity. The problem has been one one group starts imposing its ways on others.

      When you claim that one group is going to take over you are stating that our society cannot handle diversity and therefore must stamp it out. If you do that you destroy your own values and the society we live in as we know it.

      I personally won’t lose any sleep over these predictions. The key to ensure that we continue to grow as a society in tolerance and acceptance is equal opportunity. They are the same things that have made Finland a successful society.

      Moreover, I disagree that people are “afraid” to talk about this sitaution (Muslims taking over Europe). I believe that the reason why people don’t speak about it more because it is a bit ridculous.

  28. Arto

    “Moreover, I disagree that people are “afraid” to talk about this sitaution (Muslims taking over Europe). I believe that the reason why people don’t speak about it more because it is a bit ridculous.”

    I agree many people might think so – while the great majority do not think at all. But unfortunately, it could be just a lack of perscpective. There have been large migrations in history before. There have been conflicts between cultures before. There have been wars before.

    If such a threat is not recognized by many, it could be quite similar attitude than it is to believe that war will never come again and therefore the army is not needed. Nobody hopes for war but it may still come. Nobody hopes that immigration will cause trouble but unfortunately, it may do so. Malmö in Sweden is a good example of this:

    http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/artikkeli/Tutkimus+Malm%C3%B6n+Roseng%C3%A5rd+on+ultraradikalismin+jalansija/1135243103370

    http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/artikkeli/Nujakointi+Malm%C3%B6ss%C3%A4+jatkui+toista+y%C3%B6t%C3%A4+Paikka+n%C3%A4ytt%C3%A4%C3%A4+sotatantereelta/1135242179724

    http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/artikkeli/Nuorison+riehunnasta+on+tullut+pysyv%C3%A4+ongelma+Malm%C3%B6ss%C3%A4/1135245578155

    Many, many more headlines are available, but I do not want to spam your forum. I would like to know what we are going to do better in Finland – why problems like Malmö will never be seen in our coutry?

    And do we want/need to take the risk?

    • Enrique

      –And do we want/need to take the risk?

      I want to live in a society where everyone is innocent until proven guilty and does not demonize others. I can give you the same type of headlines about the problems in our society and throw in a few alarmist words to get people moving. The rule of law is important. Stray away from that and you will be compromising those values we consider important.

  29. Arto

    “I want to live in a society where everyone is innocent until proven guilty and does not demonize others.”

    I perfectly understand this principle. But we still need to believe what we see in other countries. We cannot afford being just idealists, we need a good deal of realism too.

    • Enrique

      –I perfectly understand this principle. But we still need to believe what we see in other countries. We cannot afford being just idealists, we need a good deal of realism too.

      You mean that I am idealist because I believe in the law and don’t want to start throwing people in jail because they might do something bad to us? I lived under a dictatorship in Argentina during 1977-78 and did you know what the military did after they had elminated all their real and imagined enemies? They said they were going to go after “potential terrorists.” Tell me how your view differs from a ruthless military regime in the 1970s.

      Moreover, I think if you are going to demonize groups and exclude them from society you are goin to be the one sowing the seeds of future strife.

  30. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    At the top of this thread you introduced yourself in the following terms:

    I do not have fixed attitudes about immigration, I have only recently started to study the issue. I am not a racist. But I am worried about the consequences that bad immigration policy could have to our society. I have the right to be worried – I have the right to ask questions. Don’t I? I will make my mind based on the answers I will find.

    In response I said that I would scratch you a little to find out what’s under the surface of your critical attitude.

    Look again at your recent responses and you can see the result of this very gentle scratching. You are now viewing Islam entirely in terms of highly selective aspects of foreign cultures that you find objectionable and exclusively with reference to immigration, while resolutely refusing to engage with Islam as it has been practiced in Finland for more than a century. You admit to knowing very little about Islam and you have no Moslem friends or acquaintances.

    If I chose to characterise Christianity by referring only to the American Taliban, Hutaree, the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Orange Volunteers and the National Liberation Front of Tripura, then I could make out parallel arguments against admitting Christian immigrants. If I blogged about this for long enough, then some readers might imagine that I was offering a balanced view, even as they admitted to knowing very little about Christianity and having no Christian friends or acquaintances.

    I refer you once again to perceptions of Finnish immigrants that were popularised by the Swedish tabloid press in the early 1970s: “Sweden has enough problems of its own with crime and alcohol abuse – it does not need to import more.” Was that fair comment?

    How do you know that the American Taliban is not moving to Finland? You haven’t been looking in that direction at all.

  31. Arto

    “You admit to knowing very little about Islam and you have no Moslem friends or acquaintances.”

    But you did not admit anything when I asked. And the amount of knowledge is a relative. Even if I say I am by no means an expert, I might know more of it than an average Finn. But I want to learn more, trying to keep your points in mind when doing that.

    “If I chose to characterise Christianity…”

    I characterize Islam based on what the news tell about islamic theocracies and by news like I linked above about muslim immigrants – that is, when I talk what worries me about it. I am not saying islam is 100% evil or anything like that. But is communism 100% evil either? Not in my opinion, even though millions were killed because of what was called communism.

    JD: “How do you know that the American Taliban is not moving to Finland? You haven’t been looking in that direction at all.”

    Well, I more or less follow the news. I you know something I don’t about such tendency, please give some reference.

    Enrique: “You mean that I am idealist because I believe in the law and don’t want to start throwing people in jail because they might do something bad to us?”

    Of course law needs to be followed. I am talking about the attitude towards taking more humanitarian immigrants. I think Sweden has followed an idealistic policy and is now suffering consequences in places like Malmö. Nobody needs to be “thrown to jail” for nothing, of course not! But I believe immigration policy is a key issue in preventing trouble: more focus on work-related immigration could be the key. If people have work, they are much less prone to radicalization and will integrate to the society much more likely.

    About idealism, I would like to once again compare this to warfare: we would not like to believe anything bad from our neighbours, like Russians. We like the idea of living in peace now and in the future. But it would still not be a wise choice to give up maintaining our army, even if maintaining it costs us a fortune (in comparison, Sweden is pretty much doing just that, because they are such idealists. And of course, geography is in their favour). In immigration policy, we also need to analyze potential threats and take them into account. After all, we do not want to threaten a pretty well working society of ours.

  32. JusticeDemon

    Arto

    The place to begin learning about Islam is the five pillars.

    I would recommend trying to focus on what is common to Islam everywhere and based on core scripture and tradition, as opposed to local ways of living in various parts of the world. The largest Moslem country is Indonesia, where over 200 million Moslems comprise nearly 90 per cent of the population. If Islam is as bad as many here would wish to paint it, then what kind of government and social system would you expect to find in such a country?

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