The roots of hate crime and hate speech are in Finnish society, right under our noses


The media and police are mirrors of our prejudices in our society. Our lame reaction to such social ills not only expose our weaknesses as a society but hide and protect the real culprit: institutional racism. 

How does institutional racism survive in Finland? The answer is easy: We shield such a social ill with our silence, the way the police treats minorities and migrants, in the hateful rhetoric of politicians like Perussuomalaiset*(PS) MP Laura Huhtasaari, to just name a few.

With the rise of Islamophobic and racist politicians assured a political career, should be we surprised that hate crimes have gone up in Finland?

Hate is a powerful force and if you think it just stops with stereotyping, belittling jokes and insensitive remarks, take a look at the pyramid of hate, think twice. Its destination is genocide.

Remember when the police started to profile pizzerias ethically? They asked customers to report establishments that sold pizzas at 6 euros or below. Lidl sells pizza at a euro 1.39. Read what the BBC of London wrote about this failed police campaign here.

The police, who are overwhelmingly white in Finland, have so much power that they even claim to know more than the victims of racism.

An unfortunate example of the latter is the vile attack against a Pakistani on February 23The police claim that what happened to the Pakistani wasn’t a hate crime even if he suffered over 20 stabbings and other injuries. The statement was made without asking what the victim thought.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: National Police Commissioner Seppo Kohlehminen needs more funds to avoid no-go zones in Finland


Migrant Tales insight: I heard this short news story on the 6 pm news Saturday. In it, National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen said on YLE (see 4:45 min.) he needs more funds for the police because of the new alcohol law and terrorism. He then goes off and mentioned that such funds would go for avoiding no-go zones from forming. Really?! Where?!

“So that such [no-go zone] neighborhoods would form and which the authority would not dare go …so that living outside of the law wouldn’t take root in Finland and its structures.”*


* Poliisijohtaja Seppo Kolehmainen YLE:lle: “Ettei tulisi semmoisia lähiöitä joihin viranomaiset eivät uskalla mennä…sen lain ulkopuolella oleminen ei juurtuisi suomalaisten yhteiskunnan rakenteisiin.”

The violent attack against a Pakistani migrant in Vantaa should be treated as a hate crime


The Pakistani, who was attacked brutally in Vantaa on February 23 by three white Finnish youths carrying a knife, ax, and a pointed object, sees what happened to him was a hate crime.*  

If the incident had occurred in the UK, it would be recorded as a hate crime by the police because the victim perceived it to happen against him because of his ethnic background or faith.

For some unknown reason, the Finnish police investigating the case are still not clear on the motive of the crime. The fact that the victim considers what happened to him a hate crime is a strong sign that the police will have to see it in that way.

The police’s reaction to what happened to the Pakistani in Vantaa shows the daily experiences of ethnic minorities who are confronted by racist violence in Europe and Finland. This, we believe, is a classic example of institutional racism.

In an email to Migrant Tales, the Itä-Uusimaa police state that motive is the primary factor in determining a hate crime. It pointed out in another email: a hate crime is registered as such if “the injured party [victim or other injured party], other parties or police see it as a hate crime.” [1]

This case, which must be one of the worst ever reported against a migrant in Finland irrespective of its classification, should help us to see some of the weaknesses that hate-crime victims face in this country.

One of these that became clear immediately is the police’s reaction. Not only did it take the police until February 27 to come out with a statement, the officer in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector Mikko Minkkinen, was quoted as saying in Helsingin Sanomat  and YLE News here is nothing that suggests it was a racist crime.

What is surprising is that the police makes such a claim without asking what the victim thinks. It may believe that since the attackers were intoxicated or that the attack was not planned absolves the attackers of a hate crime. Wrong.

A hate crime can occur when intoxicated and doesn’t have to be planned. Both factors are totally irrelevant.

The OSCE ODIHR Hate Crime Reporting manual establishes motive through a background check of the crime.

Some of these bias indicators that point to an Islamophobic or anti-migrant hate crime are:

  • Difference of ethnicity/background between the perpetrator and victim;
  • Timing
  • Proximity to a mosque as well or another venue associated with Muslims/migrants;
  • What does the victim’s community say?
  • What does the perpetrator say why he did it?
  • The vehemence of the attack – this is a very strong indicator.

Any two of the above would warrant the police investigation Bias/hate as a motive.

So far, and as far as we can gather, there are three points: (1) difference of ethnic background; (2) what does the victim’s community say; (3) and the vehemence of the attack.

The violence of the attack speaks volumes. Without going into gruesome detail, it took four hours to remove the victim’s stitches. A recent operation that the victim underwent took eight hours.

Read the full guide here.

According to another comprehensive guide for hate crime victims and NGOs published by the UK Race and Europe Network (EKREN) and the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), a hate crime sends a terrible message. The police should recognize that by attacking an individual, as in the case of the Pakistani, a warning to a broader group of people who share the same characteristics.


Asylum seeker Ibrahim has applied to hundreds of jobs in Finland without luck


Racism squanders talent, growth, and opportunities.

Migrant Tales

Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance.

Dr. Nathan Rutstein 

Most of our perceptions of visible migrants and minorities are erroneous and an outright lie. Remember when Perussuomalaiset* party secretary, Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, labeled all refugees in 2015, including those from countries like Syria, as economic migrants and welfare shoppers?

This populist and hateful statement by Slunga-Poutsalo was supported by Foreign Minister Timo Soini and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government. Remember the prime minister? He’s the one who offered his home to asylum seekers but then broke his promise like so many others during his mandate.

Since they are “welfare shoppers” and “economic migrants” we give into lies that in turn help justify our ignorance and prejudice. It is the fuel and justification for tightening immigration policy and socially excluding such people.

A good video message by the Finnish Refugee Advice Center.

Such lies about asylum seekers and migrants spread by politicians and the media have labeled us as a problem that should be treated with suspicion and makes it ever-difficult to get employed.

Ibrahim [1] is an Iraqi asylum seeker who came to Finland in 2015. He is a computer hardware specialist who regularly applies to 25-35 jobs weekly.

“During my stay in Finland, I have applied to hundreds of jobs,” he admitted. “I’m still unemployed.”

Ibrahim said that the vast majority of job applications he applies to are through Linkedin (70%) followed by different Facebook groups (20%) and the rest in places such as Jobs in Helsinki, fairs and the like (10%).

“Very few companies tell me outright that they cannot hire me because I am an asylum seeker,” he said. “I feel that the main reason why they don’t want to hire me due to fear.”

Ibrahim agrees that those that tell him that they cannot hire him because he is an asylum seeker are guilty of discrimination. Section 6 of the constitution states clearly that everyone irrespective of his or her background is equal before the law.

“What can I do?” he said about discrimination. “Other factors make it hard for me to find a job. Government restrictions and red tape.”

Despite the situation, Ibrahim won’t give up and will continue to search for a job in Finland despite all the obstacles he faces.

* 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.

[1] The name of the asylum seeker was changed in order to protect his identity.

Asylum seeker detained at the Joutseno immigration removal center: “I should go to my wife who is pregnant”   


In Joutseno, located 20km north of the southeastern Finnish city of Lappeenranta, is Finland’s second immigration removal center after Helsinki’s Metsälä. It is a place where Finland even locks up families with children and where suicides happen.

Finland does this because it sees immigration as a threat. This fact is the basis of the country’s oppressive immigration policy, especially towards asylum seekers.

Cases of human tragedy abound at Joutseno irrespective of sex, age, national origin, and marital status.

Below, is a picture of a minor looking out the window at the Joutseno immigration removal center.

Read the full story here.

One of these asylum seekers is an Iraqi who has been locked up since February 2.

Like many of his countrymen, he too came to Finland in 2015. Contrary to other asylum seekers at Joutseno, he is married to a Finnish woman who is expecting a child.

A view of the Joutseno immigration removal center yard from his cell. Photo by the asylum seeker.

The asylum seeker’s problems with the Finnish immigration authorities started in February 2017.* After they detained him in Pori during that month, they sent him to Turku. The police said that even if he was married to a Finn, it wouldn’t be grounds to stop the deportation.


Finding help if you are a victim of a hate crime is difficult in Finland


There was a horrible attack against a Pakistani father of two over on February 23. Just to get an idea of the wounds he sustained on that terrible night, it took last week four hours to remove his stitches. 

What would have happened if the attackers were three Pakistanis who attacked a white Finn in such a vile manner? What would be the public’s and media’s reaction?

We got an example of this in 2015 when Finnish youths of non-white background sexually assaulted a white woman in the Helsinki neighborhood of Tapanila.

Reporting on such a terrible story is difficult. I still remember a plea that the Pakistani victim told the attackers as he laid on the ground: “Please don’t kill me, I have two children.”

A Pakistani was attacked by three white Finns on February 23 and was near death. Pictured published with the permission of the victim. Photo by Enrique Tessieri.

Getting justice in Finland from a suspected hate crime is difficult.


Pakistanis, Muslims, feel insecure in Finland after dreadful attack against a migrant


The brutal attack against a Pakistani on Friday night (February 23) must be one of the worst-ever against a migrant. It took four hours last week to remove his stitches. As a result of what happened, the Pakistani and Muslim communities of Finland don’t feel safe.  

Even if the police made no mention of it in a statement, Detective Chief Inspector Mikko Minkkinen is quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Helsingin Sanomat that what happened less than a week and a half ago it is not a hate crime.

If this is the case, and considering the gravity of the attack against the victim, the police should tell the Pakistani, Muslim, and migrant community of Finland how they arrived at such a conclusion.

Migrant Tales published Thursday a story on how the police in Ireland use bias indicators to decide if an attack is a hate crime or not.

Why isn’t it a hate crime? Were the attackers intoxicated? You can be drunk and commit a hate crime. It doesn’t preclude it or stops a group of people from stabbing an innocent victim over 20 times and hitting him on the head with an ax and cause double skull fractures.

One of the words repeatedly used by the attackers against the victim was vittu, the Finnish term for the f-word.

If the crime was horrendous, it has shaken the Pakistani and Muslim community of Finland.

The wife of the victim said that she’s afraid to go outdoors after what happened to her husband.

“Before it was nothing out of the ordinary to go outdoors,” she continued. “Now I must be careful.”


One of the many wounds that the victim endured from his attackers. Picture published with the permission of the victim. Photo: Enrique Tessieri.

Another Pakistani, who visited the victim in the hospital on Sunday, said that there is concern in the Muslim community for their safety.

“When people heard about this thing [the attack],” he said, “they became afraid and feel insecure when they go out at night.”

The Pakistani said that he would never walk through a forest at night again as in the past.

“I have two options: to walk 3-4 kilometers or take a shortcut through the forest,” he continued. “I would rather walk 3-4 kilometers.”

Another Somali Muslim said that he has always felt insecure in places where there are few migrants.

“In East Helsinki [where I used to live], I don’t feel in danger because there are so many people like myself,” he said, adding that the attack against the Pakistani in Vantaa is confirmation that Finland is a dangerous place for Muslims and migrants.













Onko verojen välttely hyve, jos sitä tekee ”oikea suomalainen”?


Suomessa on aina ollut todella vaikea löytää kohtuuhintaista putkimiestä tai sähkömiestä. Hyvinkäälle muuttaessamme käytimme sähköliikettä, joka vaihtoi pesukoneen pistotulpan ja veloitti 320 markkaa. Olen joskus kysynyt naapureilta vinkkiä hyvistä sähkömiehistä, ja olen saanutkin, mutta laskutusvaiheeseen päästäessä on aina käynyt ilmi, että he haluavat rahat suoraan käteen. Jonkun putkimiehen olen saanut pitkin hampain kirjoittamaan laskun, mutta seuraavalla kerralla on ollut tyytyminen käteismaksuun. Monesti, kun alkaa etsiä ammattimiestä, saa etsiä kauan. Sanovat, että soita sille yhdelle Virtaselle, se on hypännyt näitä pikkukeikkoja.

Kaikki me tiedämme, että isolla osalla kampaajista ja partureista on kotikäyntien sivubisnes. Pienet rakennus- ja maalauskeikat hoituvat myös ”kaveriapuna”. Harvemmin talkoina, kuten ennen vanhaan, vaan kunnon palkkaa maksaen, mutta ”säästyyhän siinä sitten arvonlisäverolta”. Ja kukapa näihin uskaltaa puuttua, pieni maa, sana kulkee ja kun seuraavan kerran olet pulassa, voi osaavan tekijän löytäminen olla entistä hankalampaa.

Moni on minullekin, sisustussuunnittelijalle, ehdottanut käteismaksua. Jotkut ovat ajatelleet, että haluavat antaa minulle vähän isomman rahan kiitokseksi hyvästä työstä. Toiset taas itse saavansa sen siten halvemmalla. Kun 14 vuotta sitten aloittelin yritystoimintaa, eräs kyselijä piti pitkän saarnan siitä, kuinka hölmö olen, kun suotta rasitan valtion byrokratiaa yhden naisen yrityksen pienillä liikevaihtoveroilla.

Kuutamourakat ovat maan tapa. Valtava määrä verorahaa jää valtiolta saamatta. Osaavista ammattimiehistä, jotka suostuvat keräämään elantonsa pienemmistä keikoista, on pulaa – miksi meillä pidetään niin suurta älämölöä siitä, että yritteliäät virolaiset saavat kattourakoita? Missä viipyvät meidän markkinoiltamne puolalaiset putkimiehet?