A study in the UK finds that members of the far right English Defense League (EDL) were linked to a third of the abuses against Muslims last year. Almost two in every three cases of anti-Muslim incidents go unreported in the UK, according to Teesside University’s Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies.
Read full report here.
Takin onboard the findings of the UK study, we could ask the same question in Finland. Is there a connection in the rise of hate crimes in Finland to the 2011 election victory of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party?
Contrary to the EDL, the Finnish Defense League is too small to have the same impact as its sister organization in the UK. The only group with such clout is the PS.
A story reported by Migrant Tales in early 2012 appears to reinforce the latter claim. A story on Kajaani-based daily Kainuun Sanomat claimed that racist abuse and attacks on the Somali community in Finland started to rise after the PS election victory.
Refugee of the year (2011) Saido Mohammed was quoted as saying: “After the parliamentary election [Somalis that live in] Helsinki have said that they are spat at daily.”
After the 2011 election, traffic on Migrant Tales has soared as well. This is not only an indication that immigrants are concerned about their situation in Finland, it has apparently emboldened racists and those who are opposed to cultural diversity to come out of the closet.
The study in the UK on anti-Muslim sentiment is based on the Tell Mama online helpline, where victims can report about abuse and harassment.
Visit Tell Mama online site here.
The report states that there’s been a 150% rise in anti-Muslim hate crime in London from January to May.
Attacks against Muslims have picked up especially after the murder of Lee Rigby in May. This is in contrast to another claim that around half of the mosques and Muslim centers in Britain have been targets of Islamophobic attacks since 9/11, according to The Independent.
The interesting question we should ask is why isn’t there a study in Finland that would show the same findings as those in the UK? Is this due to lack of political will or that Finnish society still continues to play down intolerance?