How Finland’s National Coalition Party spreads wholesale racism of Muslims

by

The National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) claims to champion liberal Western values and entrepreneurship, right? Is this true if the party succumbs to cheap anti-immigration populism?

Kokoomus MP Wille Rydman likes spewing copy-and-paste soundbites of the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party.

Apart from his staunch Islamophobic views, he also takes up pseudo-scientific eugenicist views as in this recent news story.

Jussi Halla-aho, convicted for ethnic agitation in 2012, heads the PS. Under his leadership, the party has steered further to the far right.

Rydman is no exception when it comes to lawmakers attempting to capitalize politically of the fate of about 40 women and children at the al-Hol camp of northeast Syria.

The tweet below is an example of how far Kokoomus continues to stoop and how willing it is to forfeit the rule of law for personal gain.

One of the cheapest tweets by a Finnish lawmaker.

“Instead of offering state aid for repatriation, if an adult Finnish citizen has turned his [or her] back on this country to serve a brutal terrorist organization, the correct thing to do is to revoke that person’s nationality and place a permanent bar from entering the country. A 17-year-old Islamist extremist is no safer from one who is 18 years old.

If these people bore a child when living in “a caliphate,” what kinds of bond does such a child have in practice with Finland? If he has never been to Finland and was brought up under an Islamist system, there is no point in repatriating the child nor is it legally possible without the whole family. [So be it] if this cannot be done legally without retrieving the rest of the family at the same time.”

One of the suggestions made by Rydman is that Finnish citizenship should be revoked with permanent bans to enter the country.

If Rydman’s opportunistic populism does not make you reach for the collective barf bag, Kokoomus Helsinki City Councillor Atte Kaleva is another one throwing Islamophobic tantrums. He tweets below that a person is guilty before he is proven innocent.

Atte Kaleva’s tweet reveals his disdain for the rule of law.

Both Rydman, Kaleva, and Kokoomus are examples of cheap populism and, most worrying, how fast they’d be ready to ditch the rule of law and our Nordic way of life for a handful of votes.

Thank you Sakari Timonen for your latest post.

How Finland’s leading daily spreads prejudices and disinformation about Muslims

by

One of the most significant political debates going on in Finland now is the fate of about 40 Finnish women and children at the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria. The debate has taken such shameful turns that even ministers have tuned to their followers on social media to ask whether these women and children should be repatriated.

It is clear that prejudices and hardcore racism against Muslims, especially women who ditch their white Finnish majority culture for another religion, is one driving force in the ongoing debate.

The saddest matters about the ongoing debate is the near-constant Islamophobic disinformation and wishy-washy politicians scoring brownie points with voters. The discussion exposes pretty well our racism towards Muslims.

Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s biggest daily and which should know better, is also responsible for spreading stereotypes and racism against Muslims.

Other mainstream media in Finland like Yle commonly spread stereotypes about Muslims like in this story published in 2018.

Since the repatriation debate of the Finnish women and children at al-Hol is an ongoing story, Helsingin Sanomat has an illustration of five women and four children to highlight the topic. Even if the women at al-Hol wear niqabs, the drawing suggests they us burkas (sic).

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

The difference between the hijab (or veil), niqab, and burka is pretty clear as the picture below shows. Muslims are common in our society, and we should learn to know the difference between the three.

From left to right: the hijab, niqab, and burka. Source: Sunday Times.

If papers like Helsingin Sanomat want to stop spreading stereotypes and disinformation about vulnerable groups like Muslims in Finland, they should get their facts right and take the time to research their stories better.

They should, at the minimum, know the difference between a niqab and burka.

Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni’s grotesque Internet poll is a symptom of a wider social problem in Finland

by

The Center Party of Finland is a liability to the future of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government. We already saw how they forced former Prime Minister Antti Rinne to resign. And then, we witnessed Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni’s Instagram poll.

Kulmuni’s post not only exposed her total disregard for human lives and the country’s international obligations but was a warning that some politicians, even ministers, are ready to leave the fate of their citizens to public opinion and chance.

She asked in the Instagram poll whether it would be ok repatriating “[Finnish] children only” or “children and [Finnish] mothers” from the al-Hol camp in Syria.

Andrew Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch was one of many who were awestruck what Kulmuni’s post. “Seriously, Finland? This is awful, if true,” he tweeted Thursday.

Finland has always been good at getting the maximum mileage from its international image by hiding its problematic social sore spots.

One of these is women’s rights and equality. Women still make about 20% less than men and a recent survey found Finland to be the second-most violent country for women.

Even if some brag about how Finland became the first to grant women the right to vote in 1906, it was not until 1984 when women were able to grant citizenship to their children through jus sanguinis.

Finland also had draconian laws against foreigners and foreign investment thanks to the Restricting Act of 1939 (Law 219/1939), which was made redundant in 1992.

Moreover, Finland got its first Aliens Act in 1983, or about 66 years after independence in 1917. Finland had total disregard for human rights when in the Cold War it returned Soviet citizens back to the USSR without granting asylum. Finland has serious issues with racism, hate crime and asylum policy.

Finland was also the last Nordic country to legalize gay marriages in 2014.

And here lay the question of questions that reveal how deep our collective heads are stuck in the mud: How can such a perfect society, which is supposed to be the happiest in the world, have an openly racist and misogynist party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* leading in the polls?

Even if our media scores high on the World Press Freedom Index, why is much of the reporting uncritical when it comes to serious social issues like migrant and minority discrimination and rights? The fact far-right populism is breathing down the necks of mainstream parties is a good indication of the failure of the media to challenge such social ills.

Let’s get real. What Finance Minister Kulmuni posted is a symptom of our denial in confronting those sore spots that only help cover and play down our more serious social problems.

The sooner we understand this, the sooner we can begin to start making Finland a good country to live in for all of its inhabitants irrespective of their backgrounds.

Twitter (Human Rights Watch): Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni – “Seriously, #Finland?”

by

It is pretty incredible how some Finnish politicians and even ministers like Katri Kulmini forget that this country abides by international agreements like the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the balance of power.

Finance Minister Kari Kulmuni forgot all this and published on Instagram a poll where she asked if the wives of Isis fighters and/or their children should be allowed to return to Finland.

Kulmuni, like so many Finnish politicians, forgets that the country has three independent branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial.

Shame on Kulmuni and the Center Party, for playing with the lives of Finnish citizen on social media.

Economy Minister Katri Kulmuni removed her Instagram post.

When will Finland have a black or gay prime minister?

by

The hostility that Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government has faced is a good example of the misogyny that still exists in Finland. While Finland has made important strides in gender equality, women still make, on average, 20% less than men.

Even if women in Finland became the first to have the right to vote in 1906, it was not until 1984 when women were able to grant citizenship to their children through jus sanguinis.

Finland also had draconian laws against foreigners and foreign investment thanks to the Restricting Act of 1939 (Law 219/1939), which was made redundant in 1992.

Moreover, Finland got its first Aliens Act in 1983, or about 66 years after independence in 1917. Finland was also the last Nordic country to approve gay marriages in 2014.

If Prime Minister Marin’s government is made up mostly by women, when will we see ministers who represent minorities? When will Finland have its first black or gay prime minister?

The next important step in social equality in Finland will be having minority ministers. Source: Newsweek.
(Top picture) Sanna Marin’s government is an important step in gender equality in Finnish politics and government. (Lower picture) The days when the government was all male and white. Prime Minister Harri Holkeri’s government (1987-91). Source: Facebook.

I am confident that that day will come no matter how much racist, homophobic, and sexist kicking and bitching we see in Finland from the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset,* and mainstream parties like the National Coalition Party, Christian Democrats and other.

These social ills, which have come out into the open, are examples that not only must we do more work in tackling these problems but that we are winning the battle.

In Argentina, we had a saying whenever there was a military coup. We used to say to each other that “there is no evil can last a hundred years.”

The PS’ hateful rhetoric is a copy-and-paste job from Trumps’ and Fox’s USAmerica

by

The rhetoric of the radical-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*party looks like a direct copy-and-paste job from Donald Trump’s Republicans and Fox news. The PS’ leader Jussi Halla-aho labels maliciously Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government as “socialist” and even PS MP Ville Tavio claims it is “communist,” you know that this is all a copy-and-paste job from the Republicans.

US President Trump and Republican senators such as Lindsay Graham commonly use terms such as socialism and communism to justify dog-eat-dog capitalism and all the racism that goes with it.

The PS are now doing the same thing.

The Fox & friends is US President Donal Trump’s favorite chat show.

The tweet below by Tavio is a good example. He states: “Is [Sanna] Marin’s government the most communist in Finnish history? Marin is more or less just as close to the Communist Party than the SDP [Social Democratic Party]. In power, we see clearly the Feminist Party, which is far-left ideologically.”

In the screenshot below, PS MP Jani Mäkelä claims that Marin’s government is more communist the puppet Terijoki government of the Soviet Union during World War 2 that was supposed to rule Finland.

PS MP Ville Tavio tweets: “Is [Sanna] Marin’s government the most communist in Finnish history? Marin is more or less just as close to the Communist Party than the SDP [Social Democratic Party]. In power we see clearly the Feminist Party, which is far-left ideologically.” Jani Mäkelä tweets: “Terijoki [the puppet Communist government of the Soviet Union that was supposed to rule Finland during World War 2] comes in second place [to Marin’s government]. Source: Twitter.

If you want to find out what new far-right soundbites the PS will spew, check out what Republican politicians are saying in the US.

Leadership in promoting social equality and challenging racism will strengthen Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government

by

I, if anyone, wishes Finland’s new prime minister, Sanna Marin, the best of luck and success.

Someone asked me a while back what I thought about former Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s government and if it signalled major improvements and changes in immigration policy and in fighting racism.

My answer was short: It all depends on the deeds.

While there has been a lot of talk by the government about respecting human rights, the rule of law, we still have not moved forward even if suspicion and racism are no longer the narrative as was the case in Juho Sipilä’s government.

We’re still in the same place we were before: The hardline policy of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) is still the rule; there is a national outcry and lack of leadership about repatriating 10 women and about 30 children from the al-Hol camp in Syria; racism is profitable politically as opinion polls show; there are no new effective steps to tackle racism, job discrimination, hate speech and hate crime in our society.

When Prime Minister Marin speaks of ensuring that Finland remains an inclusive and socially just society, she must mean for migrants and minorities as well.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government. See any minorities? Source: Facebook.

I might be wrong and I hope I am. If the picture above and the ethnic makeup of Marin’s government is anything to go by, it sill does not show any visible minorities.

Hopefully this will change soon.

Global Family Awards 2019

by

We had a great night at the Global Family Awards in Helsinki on Tuesday at the World Human Rights Day 2019.

Afrofinns, Riku, Ike.jpeg

We heard wonderful music by Liikkukaa – Sports For All chair Mr. Ike Chime and a warm welcome speech by Rasmus Ry chair Dr. Faith Mkwesha, as well as inspiring spoken word performances by Susheela Daniel.

See Susheela Daniels program (in Finnish) here:

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 23.43.12.png

We began the evening in the spirit of the Finnish ‘Pikkujoulu´, organised by Rasmus Ry and with a discussion on Anti-Racist work in past, now and future facilitated by the wonderful Ajak Majok. We discussed representation, responsibilities of government, volunteers and activists, as well as privilege and saviorism, different ways to call out allies and authorities and the need for structures and networks.

All at Global Family.jpeg

As always we awarded individuals and groups for their outstanding work against racism and for social equality and human rights. Member of the Espoo City Council Mrs. Habiba Ali led us through the program.

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-10 at 22.19.42.jpeg

The awardees were:  

Award for civil courage and global responsibility:

Mr. Riku Riski

Riku Riski as a successful football player set an example for Global Responsibility during 2019. He gave up his place in the national team for ethical reasons, not travelling to the teams training camp in Qatar. According to Amnesty International reports the building of the football stadiums in Qatar involves human rights violations, many immigrant workers have their passports taken and have found their death in Qatar.

Read the article here

Riku Award.jpeg


Lifetime achievement award


Ikechukwu Ude-Chime

Ike Chime is a published writer, artist and radio presenter. He has promoted diversity in Finland for over thirty years. As organiser of events and demonstrations, media persona and member of the Olympic Committees workgroup against racism. He has also been an active supporter, volunteer and chairman of many NGOs.

Find his book here

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 22.27.46.png

Political Integrity Award:

Ozan Yanar, MP

Ozan Yanar, as a former member of parliament, he has always stood up for a dynamic and diverse society and against racism. As such he has been a beacon of hope for many minority members.

Read one of his brave statements here 

Ozan Award.jpeg

Anti-Racist Promotion Awards:

Afrofinns Ry

Afrofinns Ry has now for several years done an amazing job in bringing the African Voice in Finland to the general public, unite the community and support African entrepreneurship in Finland. As part of the Rasmus Ry project to promote diversity they also created this wonderful video

Afrofinns Award.jpeg

Award for groundbreaking anti-racist research:

“Pysäytätyt Resaarch Project”

 The Helsinki University Research Group exposed the practises of ethnic profiling and the consequences on the communities.

Find their research report here

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 22.34.18.png

The awards were handed over by Mr. Sampo Villanen, Dr. Faith Mkwesha, Mr. Christian Thibault and Mr. Ike Chime

Faith Sampo Elvis.jpeg

We like to thank all our participants, volunteers, supporters and congratulate all the awardees.

You have all done an outstanding job!

Faith Youth.jpeg

Rasmus Ry is the Finnish national network against racism and Xenophobia, promoting equity and human rights.

LIIKKUKAA – SPORTS FOR ALL is Finlands national umbrella for more than 70 organisations promoting equitable cultural diversity in Finnish society through sports, leisure and culture.

As part of this endeavour, the organisations annually distribute the Member of the Global Family Awards together

The prize aims to recognise individuals and communities for their contribution to promote an equal, fair, open-minded and international Finland. The prize has been awarded since 1998.

Former awardees have amongst others been:

Director of the Bank of Finland Mr. Erkki Liikanen

Journalist and writer,  Umayya Abu Hanna

Mr. Thomas Elfgren

Mr. Peik Johanson

FC POHU

Entrepreneur,  Michelle Sujballi

Enterprise, Finnlayson Oy

Football Club, SJK Seinäjoki

Member of parliament, Mrs. Eva Biaudet

Artist, Mr. Karri “Paleface” Miettinen

Read the original posting here.