One of the surprise appointments that popped up was Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Maria Lohela, who was nominated Friday as the new speaker of parliament. Lohela is no common MP since she has taken a very strong stand against immigration in general and Muslims in particular.
Somebody who knew Lohela told Migrant Tales that she appears to be a sensible person until you slip the term Muslim in the conversation. She then turns into a Ms Hyde.
Lohela has got her anti-immigration and Islamophobic credentials through the Nuiva Manifesto, which relies heavily on one-way adaption, or assimilation. She was opposed to same-sex marriage as well.
He xenophobic writings about Muslims are like skeletons that follow her like murky shadows.
Some of the most outrageous aims of the Nuiva Manifesto include:
- The state should not finance immigrant groups’ culture, language, identity and religion;
- They believe that neighborhoods are turning into ghettos;
- Deport convicted migrants from Finland;
- Conditional citizenship for ten years;
- Finland should stop so-called humanitarian immigration and accept as few refugees as possible.
Just like Lohela’s opinions, the Nuiva Manifesto’s aim is to disempower migrants and minorities in Finland. Even if Finland officially supports integration, or two-way adaption, the Nuiva Manifesto favors one-way adaption, or assimilation.
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
Electing Lohela as the new speaker of parliament is a big blow to how migrants and minorities see and believe in our political institutions. Having a politician who bases her popularity on Islamphobic rhetoric sends a clear message to migrants and minorities: Don’t trust our political institutions like parliament and especially its politicians because they are against you.
Politicians like Lohela constantly speak about how migrants don’t want to integrate into Finnish society but conveniently forget that their style and words turn many off. They label negatively, victimize and fuel social exclusion of groups like Muslims.
When approached by Uusi Suomi if she still believes in the same Islamophobic rhetotic that she wrote in the past, Lohela vacillated without giving an affirmative yes or no.
One of her most infamous Islamophobic claims was in a blog entry she wrote in 2008:
In my opinion Muslims can get guidance from the book the see best, pray on a rug even 50 times a day and follow Sharia laws and its most extreme views but they must do that in their own Islamic countries, where their religion and culture is practiced,
The latter claim is a clear indication that the new speaker of parliament doesn’t believe in religious freedom.
In 2008 Lohela wrote that “in my opinion Islam is a scary religion. It scares me.”
As everyone knows, Finland is officially a bilingual country. Lohela, who is no friend of cultural diversity, even considers that Finland should do away with Swedish as an official language. She believes that to keep Swedish as a second official language due to historical reasons is a weak argument.
What are newcomers and minorities in this country supposed to think about a politician like Lohela?
Probably suspicion is the best description since it reinforces that the PS is a hostile party to migrants, minorities and to our ever-growing culturally diverse society.
* The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.