A trail of xenophobic and far-right violence in Finland and yet no suspects

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The detention of five far-right terrorist suspects in the western Finnish city of Kankaanpää Friday raises many questions. One of these is the collaboration of this group and others in the burning down of an asylum reception center in December 2015.

The asylum reception center in Kankaanpää wasn’t the only one that suffered arson attacks.

Former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP, Ano Turtiainen, was convicted in 2018 for inciting violence against the Finnish Red Cross, which manages many asylum reception centers. The conviction has its roots in a 2015 Facebook post “liked” by PS MEP Laura Huhtasaari.

If we connect the dots and start asking the right questions about what happened from 2015, the answers we may get can be revealing exposing strange and not-so-strange bedfellows.

Moreover, it would be wishful and careless thinking to believe that the terrorist suspects in Kankaanpää acted alone and were totally detached from society.

Mihai Varga hit it right on the dot: “The main agents of ideological violence are not isolated ‘lone wolves’ but are usually interconnected with communities, non-violent agents and legal entities, at times even including connections to law enforcement personnel.”

Source: Police

For those who don’t remember, a building going to house asylum seekers was set alight was burned down in December 2015 in Niinisalo, located a stone’s throw from Kankaanpää. Perussuomalaiset MP Juho Mäenpää, elected to parliament in 2019 but a member of the Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu association, claimed jubilantly back then after the arson attack: “Great. There is a god. My prayers have been answered.”

Juha Mäenpää thanking god for the burning down of the building that was going to house asylum seekers. The then-substitute MP apologized publicly for his comment. Source: Satakunta Kansa

I interviewed Mäenpää after the attack.

“Politicians should wake up to the situation,” he told Migrant Tales in December 2015, “if they don’t it could spark a civil war.”

According to Iltalehti, several sources they contacted in Kankaanpää have said that the terrorist suspects held by the police were involved in the arson attack of 2015. What did MP Mäenpää know about what happened back then?

Possibly the bigger question is why we don’t know more about the police investigation of the arson attack and if they questioned any suspects.

Considering the prevailing anti-immigration atmosphere in Finland and that too many police gave tacit approval to such vigilante groups like the far-right Soldiers of Odin, suggests that there was not too much enthusiasm to investigate arson and other acts of violence against asylum seekers.

A 2016 opinion poll revealed that close to 80% of the police considered asylum seekers as the biggest threat to the country.

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