Attacks against Soini, Ahmed and the Muslim community of Finland are symptoms of our silence

by , under Enrique Tessieri

What do the attacks against Blue Reform Foreign Minister Timo Soini in Vantaa Sunday and today against Left Alliance MP candidate Suldaan Said Ahmed tell us about today’s Finland? For one, they tell us of a troubled country that has been asleep to the threat of far-right extremism,  Islamophobia and other forms of racism. 

While we should denounce formally all forms of violence, it is ironic that Soini, who gave xenophobic extremists a political platform, saw a member allegedly of the far-right vigilante gang, Soldiers of Odin, try to attack him.

It is pretty disheartening to see the monster that Soini help created trying to attack him after he had relinquished the PS’ leadership in June 2017 to his foe Jussi Halla-aho.

Ahmed states that the attack against him was by a man in the Itäkeskus metro station.

Ahmed tweets: “I was just attacked at the metro station and the aggressor scolded me for being, among other things, an infidel and pedophile. Don’t dream that you will go to parliament.”

Apart from the far-right violence that has a strong dose of Islamophobia, graffiti was painted on a mosque in Helsinki with the same words that the New Zealand killer wrote on his weapon that took 50 lives: “Remove kebab.”

See original Facebook post here.

The Imam of the Helsinki mosque or prayer room, Abbas Bahmanpour, said that it was the third time the building was recently attacked.

“These types of graffiti show sympathy for terrorists and far-right ideology,” he said.

In Oulu, where another mosque that has been vandalized nine times since September 2017, has now voluntary guards outside the premises after one of the suspects in the sexual assault cases of Oulu was convicted last week.

“Every Friday during prayer time we want to make sure that we are safe,” said Islamic Society of Northern Finland Iman Dr Abul Mannan. “We asked the police to patrol between noon and 1:30 pm when a lot of people at the mosque but they didn’t come. We then decided to take matters in our hands and use our people to guard the mosque.”

See the MTV news story here.

Migrant Tales published a story on Saturday about how Muslims in the northern city of Kemi are especially afraid to walk outdoors alone at night after the Oulu sexual assault cases became public in December.

Who is to blame?

A good start would be the hostile environment against asylum seekers and migrants perpetrated from the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, to a long list of mainstream politicians like Petteri Orpo, Paula Risikko, Kai Mykkänen, Juha Sipilä and a shameful long list of others.

In Finland, matters have sunk to such levels that mainstream parties like the National Coalition Party now compete for votes with the PS.

For a too long time, politicians, the media and the police have fed Finland’s hostile environment believing, opportunistically, that their words of hate and victimization of Muslims have no consequences. On Sunday, Soini saw the consequences of the medicine he helped concoct.

Are we surprised or we surprised for not being surprised?

Let’s see what the police and Minister Jari Lindström said and thought of the Soldiers of Odin a few years ago.

Detective Chief Inspector Markku Tuominen. Marshall Carl Mannerheim’s portrait as commander of the White Guards is highly suggestive. Source: Nurmijärven Uutiset.

Detective chief inspector of southern Finland, Markku Tuominen, surprised a lot of people In January 2016 when he was quoted in the media as saying that Finns should avoid contact with foreigners. In December, we even read that the police service of Häme welcomed street patrols by vigilante gangs in the town of Asikkala, according to Hämeen Kaiku.

National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen and Minister of Employment Jari Lindström. Sources: Uutismaailma and Turun Sanomat.

National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen and then PS Minister of Employment Jari Lindström openly supported in 2016 vigilante gangs like the Soldiers of Odin.

Another worrisome phenomenon that helped fuel the rise of vigilante groups was the Finnish media’s fascination, their near-inexistent editorials and lame reaction to vigilante groups and the rise of racism and fascism in the country.

I consider Pohjolan Sanomat, which was merged with Lapin Kansa, as one o the best examples of media fascination for racism and fascism. Today we know that the vigilante group has a lot of members with criminal records. Read the original story here.’

It’s not too late to learn from your mistakes.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, 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 never mind Muslims and other visible minorities. One is more open about it while the other says it in a different way.

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.