The state prosecutor plans to make public the charges against the perpetrators who attacked Fares Al-Obaidi over two-and-a-half years ago in June 2020 in Teuva, a town in Western Finland. The big question is whether the prosecutor sees what happened as a hate crime.
The Finnish penal code does not recognize the term “hate crime.” Section 5 of the Finnish criminal code, however, gives grounds for increasing punishment if the crime’s motive was “based on race, skin colour, birth status, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability or another corresponding grounds.”
I spoke to the victim, Al-Obaidi, about his thoughts before the prosecutor makes public, probably next week, the charges against the suspects.
Here are some factors that I hope the prospecutor has taken into account:
- The victim is a Muslim; The victim is a Muslim;
- The perception of the victim is that he would have probably never have suffered such a violent attack if he were a white Finn;
- Racist insults like mamu (a derogatory term for migrant) and the n-word were hurled at him by the attackers;
- Some attackers knew Al-Abaidi’s religion and asked him to seek help from his God, Allah, while they attacked him;
- Even if mamu was spray painted on his car, the vehicle was also vandalized. The police claim that their investigation did not find the suspect(s) who spraypainted the victim’s car;
- The victim says that the incident changed his life, forcing him to suffer several disorders like from sleeping and concentration, among others;
- Al-Albaidi’s mother, sister, and foreign community members were shaken by what happened. His sister fears going outdoors;
- Not only was the victim attacked, but his friend’s wife, whom they insulted in a demeaning manner by trolling and calling her a “whore” to foreigners (suvakkihuora) on Facebook.