A good immigration integration policy for Finland and Europe

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

One of the biggest challenges to Finland’s new integration program is how effectively it promotes what it sets out to do.  How passionate are we Finns about ethnic and minority equality in this country if the most important piece of the puzzle is still missing: the big picture  and place new Finns and their children have in our society. 

Migrant Tales believes that integration programs like the Perussuomalaiset’s (PS) Nuiva Manifesto would do more harm than good: It would create ghettos and punish people socially who are visible minorities. Moreover, the PS’ manifesto is more of a political statement that exposes the ignorance of its supporters.

Reading many of the thousands of comments on Migrant Tales, it is evident that some Finns and Europeans still believe that one-way integration is the only way to promote the integration of immigrants and minorities.

One of the first important steps that an integration program should take is change the anti-immigrant culture and language prevalent in a society. The term tolerance, or suvaitsevainen, is widely used in Finland but even more-effective terms that officials, politicians and the general public could begin using are mutual acceptance and respect.

Like any good government program, it must be one that is effective. But what does Finland’s integration program aim at accomplishing? Is it facilitating and speeding the integration of immigrants into our society or promoting the opposite due to lack of resources?

Jonathan Lawrence writes on the New York Times her views about how Muslims should be integrated in Europe. Her views are very much what Migrant Tales has been promoting on numerous blog entries.

She writes: “Granting Muslims full religious freedom wouldn’t remove obstacles to political participation or create jobs. But it would at least allow tensions over Muslims’ religious practices to fade. This would avoid needless sectarian strife and clear the way for politicians to address the more vexing and urgent challenges of socioeconomic integration.”

Thus one of the biggest obstacles to the integration, or adaption, of groups like Muslims and others in Europe has been our unrealistic and ethnocentric expectations of how other cultures should adapt to us.

Certainly we can promote as much ethnocentrism as we wish in our society, but the big question is what impact will it have: Will it integrate or exclude?

One of the most important matters to keep in mind when speaking about integration policies is that acceptance and respect must be a two-way process. This means that since we live in a culturally diverse society, it is important that everyone accepts and respects each other.

There is nothing new about this type of behavior. It is how we should treat people in our culture.

If we have the right, and have fought for greater acceptance of minorities like gays and women’s rights, why would we want to undermine the rights of other groups? The fact that we can make lifestyle choices in our society is what makes our society so great.

Another fallacy of the anti-immigration groups is that they believe that people don’t change. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Cultures change constantly because they are highly adaptable.  Free will ensures that we can never be ruled like robots.

  1. Allan

    Enrique – have you been reading http://www.tulevaisuus.org? If the muslims want “full religious freedom” i.e. they have sharia law, then they are allowed to discriminate against gays, jews and christians, treat women inequally and segregate. This is what you are promoting!? If we have fought for greater acceptance of minorities like gays and women’s rights, why do you promote accepting a group that wants to undermine the rights of other groups?

    There has been muslims in Finland since the 1800’s , the islamic graveyard is from 1871. I don’t see any reason or any need for any different style of accommodation than what has been done for the integration. Since 1923 there has been a freedom of religion also including a freedom from religion.

  2. Question

    “If we have the right, and have fought for greater acceptance of minorities like gays and women’s rights, why would we want to undermine the rights of other groups? The fact that we can make lifestyle choices in our society is what makes our society so great.”

    Remember those claiming Asylum due to their sexuality What religious states are they mostly feeling form ?

    You will find in the Gay community a growing opposition against Islam, of course there was Pim Fortuyn and a more extreme example would be Douglas P .

    You can now not put the acceptance of gays into society in the same sentence as the acceptance of Muslims. When gays are a group which are now being more vocally opposed to Islam then many others. So in no way has their struggles made them friends against a common enemy

    Does that not tell you there is something un European about Islam when even the Gay community are also opposed to it.

  3. Mark


    If the muslims want “full religious freedom” i.e. they have sharia law, then they are allowed to discriminate against gays, jews and christians, treat women inequally and segregate. This is what you are promoting!?

    So you think it’s an all or nothing debate for us? Either we promote respect for ethnic culture, and religious freedom, but we cannot then criticize them? Wrong.

    Here is a quote from Johann Hari, a leading UK journalist:

    The only consistent and reasonable position is to oppose bigotry against Muslims, and oppose bigotry by Muslims

    Not so hard is it?

  4. justicedemon


    Gays in Finland are more concerned about the peruSSuomalaiset, KD and other homegrown homophobes who have found common cause with the loony fringe of Islamic, Christian and other religious traditions.

    Remind us who said this:

    Homojen tanssiminen loukkaa minua henkilökohtaisesti. Eräs sotaveteraani on minulle jo ihmetellyt, kuinka on mahdollista, että homot tanssivat linnassa. Kyllä se minustakin vähän outoa on…

    Or this:

    Perhekäsityksen muuttaminen koskemaan myös samaa sukupuolta olevia pareja merkitsee irtautumista avioliiton perhekäsityksen kristillisistä juurista

  5. Question

    Gay people may not like certain members PS or KD on their views on homosexuality but to most they know that those views are the minority in Finland if they are to come from a Finnish person religious or not. But gay peoples opposition against Islam is genuine fear

    Gay people have had to struggle to be accepted into society but a large number would not feel comfortable that their struggle is used when talking about Islam being accepted into society

  6. Question

    peruSSuomalaiset homophobes

    If your using the SS as a reference Schutzstaffe and that anyone who has those views makes you homophobic

    Then it i oblivious you do not know who Douglas P is or what Death in June is

  7. Allan

    “Do Christians have full religious freedom now that Siwa is open on Sundays?”

    No, people have a freedom from a religion dictating opening hours.

  8. Allan

    “So you think it’s an all or nothing debate for us? Either we promote respect for ethnic culture, and religious freedom, but we cannot then criticize them? ”

    No because thats discrimination and racism, there is one religion you cannot criticize because they chop your head off – peacefully.

  9. Question

    When it comes your description of people who are anti Islam and anti immigration

    Gay people who have those views (could I be one of them?) Is your elephant in the room

  10. Klay_Immigrant

    Totally off-topic but could someone in the know tell me about the image and reputation of Uusikaupunki in Western Finland. Also of that of the Vakka-Suomen dialect/accent from the same area? Much appreciated, thanks.

  11. Question

    So can we now assume when you mention being anti Islam as well as mentioning PS or KD you will have to now also mention a certain percentage of Finland’s gay community?

  12. Allan

    Well, the car factory is the thing that is known from “UKI”… what I would say is “good” that it has “no reputation” – its not mentioned in the news for drunk driving, fights etc… I think their summer event is some violin festival, boring small town, (boring=good). Basketball team in the league. Used to be pretty dependent on one big employer,(car factory) that started laying people off but slowly, but it has a lot of diversified small industry…. oh, and a brilliant guest harbour! Accentwise… umm.. they all sound same to me… nami pia ja an kola!

  13. Allan

    Planning on moving there? Being on the coast its one of towns thats almost 99% Finnish-speaking, drive up or down the coast a few km and suddenly they’re all then speaking protonorse at the ABC (though you need to go to Narpes for that).

  14. Allan

    If you are moving (on a permanent basis as in buying a house) thing to do is check the municipal pages, and go read the minutes of the council meetings. Check the tax rate, the protocols, also check the election results (trend) the past 10 years or so… gives you a bit of an idea. Then again I just jumped blind (I’d done my homework for a totally different station).

  15. Klay_Immigrant

    Well I’m considering moving there, as I’ve recently started work in Turku and don’t mind the travel. I’ve done some research and visited the place a few times but without fluent Finnish there’s only so much one can do. I did check the parliamentary elections results before and the PS were a close second to the SDP but that in itself is not a concern to me, just shows the locals are wise and want to safe guard their country from negative influences.

  16. eyeopener


    I don’t believe you are an immigrant!! Safeguard their country (locals??) from negative influences. Negative influences?? Like you??

  17. Allan

    Klay – council statistics is the more important one. It shows the “continuity”. If you can get an access to the council minutes (modern ones have them online) you can ask some friend to look at them… county finances and the tax % reflects on the quality of life – health care, child care, schools etc. Also suoli24 discussions god forbid will have some very “revealing” information. Usually as in all towns there is a power clicque of some sorts, the “who is who” – remember there is “no corruption” in Finland. I wouldn’t be worried about the PS, rather the Greens and zoning plans, SDP makes a deal and theres a new sewage processing plant next to your new house. 😉 What I’d do is also go on a “scouting” trip, stay a few days, visit the local places, “get the vibes” so to speak…

  18. Klay_Immigrant

    I’ll take your sound advice on board Allan and look into it.

    eyeopener why is it so difficult to understand than an immigrant can be critical of other immigrants? After all the only characteristic in common between an illiterate, muslim, refugee in need of welfare for everything and an highly educated, athiest, foreigner who can pay his own way and contribute to society via employment and tax is that they happen to not be Finns, that’s it. In other words I would have more in common with most Finns than refugees/asylum seekers.

  19. justicedemon


    I’ll take the genuine refugees who are not ashamed of their origins, ahead of fair weather migrants that change their names and try to become more bigoted and full of hatred than the Grand Dragon of the local KKK lodge in an effort to blend in.

    Especially if they can spell and punctuate.

  20. Klay_Immigrant

    Obviously Justicestupid enjoys committing economic suicide, not to mention the social consequences. Silly boy, maybe one day he’ll learn but I highly doubt it.

  21. MaryMekko

    Why does Finland have to learn the hard way? Just look at Sweden, England, Germany, USA and so on to see what all that Enrique is preaching will lead to.

    Yes, ghettos spring up, naturally, because people stick to their own kind. If I were an Ethiopian in any Western nation, I’d gravitate to my own people, live near them if I could.

    Enrique, why not just move back to USA with all its multicultural diversity, so applauded by you and by the media? Why do you want our problems to come to a small nation? A big nation can more easily handle pockets of disruption, but a small country?

    Meanwhile, what about those nations where foreigners came in and then took over the ecnoomy? How about in Thailand, Phillippines, etc. where the Chinese took over? How about the Fijians fed up with the Indian domination of their economy? How about the African countries like Zanzibar throwing out their Asians and Indians?

    What appear as harmless, interesting foreign cultures can mean economic suicide for a small country’s inhabitants. Perhaps if the foreigners stay poor and dumb, then Finns can feel “tolerance” for them, but wait until they get going and make a lot of money! THAT will the time to watch out for…. since almost all cultures are more pushy than Finnish.

  22. eyeopener

    Hi Klay. Or should say Cassius Klay?? What about critical about yourself?? Your education,literacy doesnot show only your poison!! When and if you are what you say you are you ARE STUPID. I actually don’t need to tell you that. But a good look in the mirror so now and than isn’t a bad thing.
    Don’t come back with the same, intellectual!!!

  23. eyeopener

    MaryMekko’s white supremacy -thanks God (he was a Jew)- is going to be over pretty soon. At least the economic and consequently the mentall superioirity. MM is an example a the dying race of mental mastodonts who have never learned to accept equality. Only for herself and the clique she associates with. Like KKK, SS and other Übermensch philosophies, associations, groups and supporters like Allan, Laputis (clapotis), Cassius Klay and others.

    Why don’t you enjoy yourselves among yourselves instead of “preaching the KINGDOM OF WHITE”. Propbably all supporters and fans of Breivik.

  24. Laputis

    In my opinion, Finland should stay Finland – country where dominating language is Finnish, dominating culture is Finnish and dominating population are ethnic Finns (it means, people with at least partial Finnish ancestry). In the same time, languages, cultures and people not Finnish should be respected, but not equaled to Finnish language, culture.
    Enrique and few other constantly forget why Finland has been created at all in first place – it was supposed to be a place where Finnish culture and language would be protected and nurished, Finnish people flourish. That is the main, original reason of creating Finland, otherwise, what would be the point to seperate Finland from Russia in year 1917? Going against the basic reasons, why Finland was created, means also going against the country itself. Why don´t you loudly speak then that Finland must loose it´s independence and be attatched to f.e. USA or Canada?
    But while Finland is independent country, please, RESPECT it. And stop asking things that go essentially against the very reason of Finland´s existence!!!

  25. justicedemon


    You need to see a shrink about that obsession with domination.

    Otherwise just notice that Finland in 2012 is quite different from Finland in 1962 and ask how the national character can be lost and yet continue.

    Life is change. You either adapt and diversify or you calcify and fossilise. Finland has chosen to adapt and diversify. Unlike your heroes on North Sentinel Island.