Politicians who spread fear and suspicion of migrants are those that will never give power and a voice to migrants. Some good examples of groups that are Islamophobic are parties like the Perussuomalaiset* and leading Islamophobes like Jussi Halla-aho and Atte Kaleva.
National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP candidate Atte Kaleva, who has overtaken Wille Rydman as the Halla-aho of his party, held a talk on March 15 in East Helsinki on “why multiculturalism doesn’t work.”
The timing of the talk was not the most appropriate since on the same day we learned about the atrocities in New Zealand when a far-right Australian extremist killed in cold blood 50 Muslims and wounded others in two mosques of Christchurch.
For anyone familiar with the topic of multiculturalism, Kaleva’s topic choice exposes who he is: a populist giving soundbites to the media and followers at the cost of minorities and groups like Muslims.
Some of Kaleva’s acquaintances include Jussi Halla-aho, convicted in 2012 for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion. Kaleva appears proud of this picture. I think it is shameful. Thank you Christin Bergström for helping me find this Instagram posting with Kaleva and Halla-aho.
When the National Coalition Party candidate claims that multiculturalism does not work, we have no idea what he actually means.
Is he implying that cultural diversity is not possible because it always fails? Does he mean that white Finnish society is “perfect” while culturally diverse societies are flawed? Is he saying that countries like Canada, Australia, Argentina, the United States, and others are good examples where multiculturalism has failed?
Is he denying European history, which is and was historically always culturally and ethnically diverse?
While Kaleva doesn’t even tell us what he means by multiculturalism, it’s clear that he uses such a term to raise passions.
Of all the politicians in Finland, he appears, apart from the hardcore Islamophobes, to use the term multiculturalism.
Kaleva’s Islamophobic statements are, in my opinion, the worst example of how mainstream parties like the National Coalition Party have turned to Islamophobia and xenophobia to lure votes. The trend is a bit like what is going on in Denmark, where all the traditional mainstream parties are competing with the Danish People’s Party to be the most Islamophobic.
Kaleva’s campaign centers on spreading fear of Muslims and promising to make Finland a secure place. His comments and view of Finland do just the opposite.
Has Kaleva helped to make Finland a safe place for people of color, Muslims and other minorities? Certainly, with politicians like him spreading fear and suspicion of such groups, it’s clear that we are a long way off in making our society inclusive that respects people who are not white and who don’t hold the same beliefs as him.
One can disagree with his conservative and simplistic views of cultural diversity, but there is one matter that puts Kaleva in the same league as other Islamophobes in Finland: Retarding social equality and acknowledging cultural diversity by spreading fear and social exclusion.
Here is an op-ed piece (in Finnish) by Panu Raatikainen that asks if Atte Kaleva is a researcher or storyteller.
* 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.