Enrique

What message does Finland want to send to Iraqi asylum seekers by deporting them to a country that it has no repatriation agreement?

The case of two young Iraqis, KM and SH, who were detained by the police on Friday and who will apparently be deported from the country on Monday are a case in point. To KM and SH, there is another Iraqi national, AM, who will be deported together with KM and SH. All three are being held at the Helsinki detention camp of Metsälä.

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Timo Soini’s silence in the face of PS MP Olli Immonen’s proposal reveals that he has always been the wolf in sheep’s clothing

Timo Soini, the chairman of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, was quoted as saying on YLE in English that PS MP Olli Immonen’s written question to parliament, that Finland should start classifying people according to ethnic background, doesn’t concern him.  What do you think such a statement by the head of an an anti-immigration party reveals?

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PS MP wants Finland to classify people according to ethnic background

As the European Parliament elections near in May 2014, the attacks against immigrants and visible minorities in Finland by the Perussuomalaiset (PS) are getting stronger and more relentless. The latest one is by none other then PS MP Olli Immonen, who gave parliament Wednesday a written question that Finland should start registering people according to

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Why do we still hesitate to challenge intolerance in Finland?

I had an interesting chat yesterday with an old friend about racism in Finland. One of the matters we agreed was that Finland hasn’t reached that stage where we accept that racism exists and that concrete steps must be taken to challenge it. This fact leads us to a second important question: Why?  The answer

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The story behind “Finland is a racist country” is in the comments

There were quite strong reactions among some Finns and immigrants to Maryan Abdulkarim’s interview on Helsingin Sanomat. Those who strongly objected to the article, appear to want to deny Abdulkarim’s right to express herself on a touchy subject like racism.  It’s ironic, but those who want to deny Abdulkarim her right to speak out are

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How does Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) empower us?

The death of Nelson Mandela, who was branded a terrorist by countries like the U.S. and Great Britain, is a sad day full of mourning but full of hope as well. His struggle and triumph over apartheid, a toxic offshoot of white European colonialism, proves that no matter how oppressive a government is, change is

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Maryan Abdulkarim: “Finland is a very racist country”

Is there racism in Finland? In order to find the answer to that question, we’d have to ask visible migrants and minorities.  Maryan Abdulkarim, 31, is a Finn who was born in Somalia, had the opportunity on Friday’s Helsingin Sanomat to answer that question. “Finland is a very racist country,” she said. “It always has been.”

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PS MP blames immigrants for Finland’s disappointing Pisa result

This year’s Program for International Student Assessment (Pisa) results offered a rude disappointment for Finland, when it saw its global ranking slip sharply in reading, science and math, according to Yle in English.  Of all the OECD countries, Finland’s Pisa result saw the biggest drop from the previous year. While part of Finland is still in

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Länsi-Savo: Loistava kansainvälinen Mikkeli?

Torstaina 28.11. järjestettiin järjestyksessään toinen International Mikkeli Day Stellan Tähtitorilla. Yhtenä tapahtuman tärkeimmistä tehtävistä on luoda foorumi, jossa pohditaan kansainvälistymisen merkitystä kaupungin tulevaisuudessa. Kehitys ja hyvinvointi ovat pitkälti riippuvaisia siitä, kuinka hyvin sopeudumme ja hyödymme kansainvälisyydestä. Vaikka kansainvälistyminen ei ole ainoa ratkaisu alueemme ongelmiin, se on kuitenkin yksi monista ratkaisuista johon pitäisi tarttua erityisesti Itä-Suomessa.

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Finland and Europe must not forget its culturally diverse history

Why have so many in this land forgotten our culturally diverse history? Why don’t we teach it more at schools? At homes? If over 1.2 million emigrants left this land between 1860 and 1999, certainly that says a lot about the source of our diversity.  It’s fortunate that Finland wasn’t a former European colonial powers like

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Finland’s Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen’s blog entry on the Roma reveals why Europe has done so little to help this minority

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Christian Democrat Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen’s opinion piece on Uusi Suomi about the hardships that the Romany minority face in Europe today. As she expressed concern about their plight, I could not forget her intolerant views of gays, non-Christian refugees and her silence in the face of strict

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Finland and Europe must not be lured into populism and xenophobia

Denials by party leaders like Timo Soini that the Perussuomalaiset (PS) isn’t a xenophobic party, and the meek response of Finland’s mainstream parties to such a threat, speak volumes of the present state of this country. Who helped the political careers of xenophobes like Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari and others? Soini and the PS.  Why

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Latest drug police scandal sheds light on other issues like ethnic profiling in Finland

The latest police corruption scandal concerning the head of the Helsinki police drug squad, sheds light on two matters: Our naivety as a society about institutional corruption, and the extent of  other issues like ethnic profiling by the police.  Police corruption is nothing abnormal since it exists everywhere. What is abnormal, however, is believing that our police

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Lieksa, Finland, councilperson who wanted a “Somali-free” meeting room gets sacked as the PS’ town council leader

Esko Saastamoinen, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) councilperson from Lieksa who demanded that a ”Somali-free” meeting room for his delegation, has been sacked as the PS’ town council leader, according to Karjalainen, a Joensuu-based daily.  Saastamoinen was, however,  able to retain his post as the party’s Lieksa town board first vice president. The PS councilperson faces as

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Is silence an effective response to racism?

One of the questions we should ask ourselves is what should our response be to those that are hostile to migrants, visible minorities and our ever-growing cultural diversity. Should silence be the answer?  One of the matters that I have learned through my many years of studying and writing about cultural diversity, is that silence

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Apu 1992: Onko Suomessa rotuvihaa?

MT kommentti: Tämä pakina julkaistiin Apu-lehdessä vuonna 1992. Samat kysymykset joita esitetään tässä kirjoituksessa, voidaan tehdä tänään.  Silloin asui noin 37 000 maahanmuuttajia. Tänään niitä on 195 511.  _______ Olisiko mahdollista, että Suomessa toistuisivat samankaltaiset rotuvihatapahtumat, jotka koettelevat Saksaa ja Ruotsia?  Tämä kysymys, joka ahdistaa monia tai voi vaihtoehtoisesti jopa rohkaista eräitä samaan toimintaan. Suomessa

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Alleged white Finn attacks Helsinki church dressed as a Muslim

What would you say if a white Finn dressed like a Muslim attacked a Lutheran church in Helsinki by breaking its windows, yelling and obstructing window repairmen from repairing the damage he caused? What would you say if this happened on Tuesday night, when YLE aired A2 Islam debate on television? Would you say it was

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Are you a perpetrator or victim of white Finnish privilege?

One matter about intolerance is that it is universal. The social ill can manifest itself in different ways by speaking different languages and historical context but don’t be fooled by these deceptions: Intolerance is the same ogre.  White privilege is one of the many faces of racism and means automatic access or exclusion to the

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A2 Islam debate: “We’re a very tolerant society but…”

Two matters bothered me the most about the A2 Islam debate Tuesday night: how the cards were deliberately stacked against cultural diversity, and how Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen and PS Espoo city councilman Simon Elo did their utmost to spread fear-mongering of Muslims.  You can watch the full debate here until the end of

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About A2’s debate on Islam tonight…

The A2 islam-ilta television debate Tuesday will reveal once again white Finnish ethnocentrism, how poorly we know our laws and, what’s important, how poorly we accept people who are different from us. Is the Finnish media giving once again racists inflated respectability and importance? Will the A2 debate improve or undermine the situation of Muslims in Finland?

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Finland’s interior minister only likes Christian refugees

Finland’s interior minister, Päivi Räsänen, has raised eyebrows again in Finland with her conservative religious views about the type of refugees she thinks would best adapt to Finland.    Read full story here. Räsänen was quoted as saying on Joensuu-based Karjalainen that Finland should take Christian and Vietnamese refugees because their work ethic is closest

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Take two of Magneettimedia’s anti-Semitic campaign in Finland

After being fined 45,000 euros Monday by a Finnish court for ethnic agitation by publishing the anti-Semitic writings of Ted Pike, David Duke and others on Magneettimedia, a publication that advertises J. Kärkkäinen’s department store products, a new story appeared in the latest issue criticizing Zionism and the court sentence as “juridical murder” and “liquidating

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Well-groomed politicians and making racism in Finland “normal”

In general terms, there are two types of politicians in Finland that spread intolerance: those that let it all hang out and another type that speaks to you politely and is well-groomed. In the latter group, you’ll find PS MPs like Jussi Halla-aho, Juho Eerola, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Juho Eerola, even Timo Soini; James Hirvisaari is

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Magneettimedia editor and owner fined 45,000 euros by court for anti-Semitic writings

Magneettimedia editor and owner Juha Kärkkäinen has been fined by a Finnish court 45,000 euros for publishing anti-Semitic writings of Ted Pike, David Duke and others as well as cartoons that bear a striking resemblance to the former Nazi tabloid, Der Strümer (1923-45), reports Lahti-based Etelä-Suomen Sanomat.  Read full story here. The court ruled that the writings

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Jussi Halla-aho gets cold feet – another lie exposed

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho announced that he will not take part in a live A2 televised debate on Islam, reports YLE. The MP, who has been convicted for ethnic agitation, said that the debate doesn’t serve the issue. He would, however, be ready to take part in a debate with fewer people. Read full

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Suspected hate crimes in Finland fall by 20.6% in 2012

Suspected hate crimes in 2012 totaled 732, which is a 20.6% fall from 918 cases in the previous year, according to YLE in English. Of the total hate crimes reported to the police last year, 641 cases were classified as racist.  Read full story here. According to YLE in English, the most common offense investigated

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Do “mamu” an “maahanmuuttajataustainen” downgrade people in Finland into “us” and “them?”

There are two words I’d be very careful with in Finland: mamu and maahanmuuttajataustainen especially at schools to single out third-culture children. The first label is the shortened word for maahanmuuttaja, or immigrant, while the second one means person with immigrant background.  Migrant Tales has written previously about the use of mamu like this blog entry above. Both

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Pressiklubi exposes MP James Hirvisaari’s fabricated lies and ignorance of immigrants and minorities

MP James Hirvisaari, who got expelled from the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party last week, appeared on Ruben Stiller’s Pressiklubi Friday. Compared with his appearance on Enbuske & Linnanahde Crew’s talk show the previous day, the new Muutos 2011 MP’s fabricated lies and ignorance were exposed in the raw. See full program (in Finnish) here. Just like the

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Jussi Halla-aho appointed as vice member of Finland’s delegation to the Council of Europe

The anti-immigration and anti-EU Perussuomalaiset party nominated MP Jussi Halla-aho as vice member of Finland’s delegation to the Council of Europe, reports YLE in English. The controversial nomination of Halla-aho, who was sentenced for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion, prompted the parliamentary leaders of seven parties to express regret in a joint

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Paljastattu.: Uudet ajat puhaltavat Suomen yllä

Enrique Tessieri Kansanedustaja James Hirvisaaren episodi tällä viikolla nostaa pöydälle yhden mielenkiintoisen kysymyksen: onko se ensimmäinen näkyvä halkeama perussuomalaisten hajoamisesta?  Vaikka on liian aikaista sanoo kuinka Hirvisaaren potkut perussuomalaisista tulee horjuttamaan puoluetta, Timo Soini tulee varmasti vakuuttamaan ulospäin ettei puolueelle ole mitään hätää ja oma pesä on nyt kunnossa. Onko niin? Hirvisaaren tapausta huolimatta, ei

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Helsingin Sanomat’s Cold War policy towards immigrants

Immigrants, expats and Finns marched on October 19, 1982 to demand their rights. The march started from Helsinki University’s Porthania building to Parliament. One of the comments that caught my attention on that chilly Tuesday, was that Helsingin Sanomat made a big exception about writing about the march since it did not publish as a rule stories

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Two important stories this week that may have far-reaching implications for Finland

This week was marked by two important news stories that will could have far-reaching consequences on our country: Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari’s expulsion from the anti-immigration and anti-EU party, and positive words about immigration by Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen.  Verkkouutiset is published by the National Coalition Party. See full story here. While the first

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The Perussuomalaiset plan to sack MP Hirvisaari from the party

Inviting Seppo Lehto to parliament, where a picture of him making a Nazi salute, was the last straw for Perussuomalaiset(PS) chairman Timo Soini, who was quoted as saying on MTV3 that PS MP James Hirvisaari will be sacked from the party.  Read full story here. The decision to expel Hirvisaari was made by the five-member

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A guest of the Finnish PS gives a Nazi salute in parliament

We all know how a political party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) has declared war against immigrants and other minorities in this country. The latest attack by the PS was against the Finnish parliament by a guest of MP James Hirvisaari, who was pictured giving a Nazi salute.  UPDATE: Hirvisaari confirmed Thursday that it was him

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Why doesn’t Timo Soini make a clear split with its PS racists? Answer: political hara-kiri

Columnist Yrjö Rautio of Apu magazine writes that if Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini doesn’t make a clear split with PS MP racists like Jussi Halla-aho and his followers, the party should make official that it supports the following values: “paranoia, hatred and human evil.”  Read full story (in Finnish) here. Rautio makes a valid point.

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Saving one life, one refugee from Syria, IS important

Arguing that accepting a few hundred refugees from Syria is not important because it is a drop in the bucket, is an outrageous statement made by Jussi Halla-aho, Vesa-Matti Saarakkala and others. The other point they are trying to drive home, that these people will be a burden on Finland, exposes their loathing and ignorance.

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PS MP Jussi Halla-aho put on the hot chair after his ridiculous arguments against Syrian refugees are exposed

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho was put on the hot chair on A-Studio, when he was asked about his and PS MP Vesa-Matti Saarakkala’s written question to parliament opposing government plans to give asylum to 500 refugees from Syria.  A good question to ask is why accepting 500 refugees from Syria is in the national spotlight? Sweden

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Does Finland promote two-way or one-way adaption of immigrants?

Our integration law promotes two-way adaption as opposed to assimilation, which is a one-way process. Section 17 of the Finnish Constitution states that each person living in this country has the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. What do these two important laws mean in practice and how are they applied? Sensible Finns

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Helsingin Sanomat poll reveals Finns’ opposition to cultural diversity

A poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomt, Finland’s largest-circulation daily, reveals that 53% of those polled agreed (22%) or partially agreed (31%) that immigrants should aim at becoming as Finnish as possible. That compares with 18% and 30%, respectively, in 2011. If there is something worrying that the poll shows, it’s Finland’s growing opposition to cultural

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How Syrian refugees fleeing war show how the Finnish media gives (again) racists inflated respectability and importance

Migrant Tales published a while back a story about how the media gives racists and radical anti-immigration groups inflated respectability and importance. Why should we care what a Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP like Jussi Halla-aho, who was on top of it convicted for ethnic agitation, thinks about giving asylum to Syrian refugees?  Verkkouutiset is run by the

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Turku Islamic Center suffers attack over the weekend

The Turku Islamic Center, which has served the Muslim community of the southwestern city for over twenty years, was attacked over the weekend, according to YLE. Apart form destroying furniture, spreading salt and flour on the ground, a number of Korans were torn. Some 200 Muslims attend the Turku Islamic Center.  The police have been

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Government talks in Norway are a preview of what may happen in Finland in 2015 with the PS

Take a close look at Norway if you want to see what may happen in Finland after the 2015 parliamentary elections, when the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) may be in government.The populist anti-immigration Progress party (FrP) of Norway will form part of a coalition government with the Conservative Party (Høyre), Christian Democrats and Liberals. If the Conservative Party

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Artist Kiba Lumberg: “Don’t box me in!”

In order to understand Kiba Lumberg, 57, you need to know some Finnish history, the plight of minorities like the Roma, and what it is like to live in worlds shaded by different hues of grey. Since this story is about an artist who doesn’t want to conform to set norms imposed on her by

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PALJASTETTU.: Voidaanko “väitellä” suvaitsemattomuuden lisäämisestä?

Enrique Tessieri On ollut mielenkiintoista huomata kuinka Kokoomusten Nuorten Liiton (KNL) puheenjohtaja, Susanna Koski, on saanut paljon julkista huomiota tällä viikolla. Tästä kohusta syntyy kysymys: Onko suomalainen media taas antamassa rasisteille ja radikaali maahanmuuttovastustajille tunnustusta? Miksi on niin, että suomalainen media useasti hurmaantuu suvaitsemattomuudesta, rasismista ja nationalismista? Suomalainen media on ollut niin antelias, että se

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The Finnish and European media still have a lot to learn about racism and intolerance

One matter that is interesting to note when looking at the media before the historic victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party in April 2011, is the present controversy surrounding the Youth League of the National Coalition Party’s program. Is the media giving racists, radical anti-immigration groups and voices inflated respectability and importance? The whole Susanna

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The coup that changed the Americas forty years ago

Today, 9/11, is the fortieth anniversary of the overthrow of President Salvador Allende by General Augusto Pinochet. A democratic era in Chile was abruptly and violently put to an end thanks to the support of the US President Richard Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. In many respects, the coup of September 11,

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The shadow of Anders Breivik’s mass killings hang over coalition talks after Norway elections

The landslide victory of Norway’s opposition Conservatives  (Høyre) on Monday was short-lived after the country’s next prime minister, Erna Solberg, faced tough coalition talks with the anti-immigration and populist Progress party (Fremskrittspartiet) of which Anders Breivik was a member and whose cold-blooded killings continue to haunt the country, reports Reuters. Visit Wikipedia site here. Outgoing Labor Party

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Are Finns conservatives by nature?

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini was interviewed on YLE Saturday morning. Commenting on a recent opinion poll commissioned by YLE, Soini claimed that the good showing of the PS and Center Party proved that Finns are by nature conservatives.  The YLE poll, which was published Friday, showed big gains by the opposition Center Party (23.8%)

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Immigrants in Finland feel like safe outsiders

There’s an interesting news story on MTV3 that claims that immigrants in Finland feel physically secure in this country but see themselves as outsiders. This is the first story I’ve read in this country that addresses a big issue in Finland, which is common in other countries as well.  One of the reason why some

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Why we call the Finns Party the Perussuomalaiset

Some may wonder why we don’t call on Migrant Tales the Perussuomalaiset (PS) by their official English name, the Finns Party. When I speak to people in English and mention the PS, they answer back by naming it the Perussuomalaiset.   There was a lively discussion on Migrant Tales in 2010 on whether the correct translation

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PALJASTETTU.: Miksi maahanmuuttokeskustelu Suomessa ei keskity oleelliseen?

Enrique Tessieri Tässä on tärkeä kysymys, joka on tehtävä kun keskustellaan julkisesti maahanmuutto ilmiönä: Jos pakolaiset koostuvat vain pieni osa kaikista maahanmuuttajista Suomessa, miksi maahanmuuttovastaiset tahot ja lehdistö kiinnittää heihin niin paljon huomiota?  Vaikka jotkut meistä uskovat että Suomessa on erityisen paljon pakolaisia, totuus on aivan toinen. Viime vuonna, Suomeen saapui 3 129 turvapaikkahakijaa, Maahanmuuttoviraston

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Why is the immigration debate in Finland so distorted?

Here’s a question that needs serious debating in Finland: If refugees account for a minority of all immigrants, why do they get so much attention in the media? Why do anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) constantly speak of them and give us the impression that all of Finland’s immigrants are mostly refugees and Muslims

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The Jews of Finland

The Jewish side of our family was never discussed openly when I was young. If it was, the matter appeared as a fleeting question: Is it true that part of our family is Jewish? Read full column here on page 14. Silence always followed that question. In retrospect, our silence and answer revealed a lot about

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Racism in Finland: The media is part of the problem

A party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), which has capitalized politically on xenophobia and racism, claims that the Finnish media picks on it unfairly. The fact is, however, that the PS could have never achieved what it did in the April 2011 election without the help of the media, which gave its racists inflated respectability and

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Old Finnish national social constructs still fuel intolerance and exclude visible minorities

The Association of Finnish Culture and Identity (Suomalaisuuden liitto) is an association founded in 1906 to “strengthen the sense of national identity, to promote Finnish education and culture.” While this statement may appear innocent at first, the association endorses the intolerance white Finnish speakers have today against Swedish speakers never mind immigrants and visible minorities. In

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Child without residence permit denied medical attention in Finland

Migrant Tales recently wrote about the poor treatment a foreign couple received at an Eastern Helsinki health center that refused to treat their sick child. In a fresh case published by Lääkärilehti (Finnish Medical Journal), a three-week old baby suffering from respiratory problems was denied medial attention because the child didn’t have a residence permit.   Read full story

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Why does intolerance get so much attention in the media?

Why does racism, xenophobia and intolerance get so much space in the media and so little condemnation by politicians and society? Is it because racism strikes a chord inside of us or is it because we are taught from a very early age to leave if alone?  We can make the following argument as well:

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Mixed reactions to Hakkarainen’s racist blog entry that victimizes immigrants and Muslims

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Teuvo Hakkarainen’s recent blog entry, which attacked immigrants and Muslims, has been condemned by the vice president of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Eero Vainio, and by Muslims like Abdirahim Husu Hussein of the Center Party.  Reaction to what Hakkarainen wrote is a positive sign that part of Finland’s political establishment considers

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PS MP Hakkarainen of Finland launches new attack against immigrants and Muslims

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who suggested two years ago that homosexuals, lesbians and Somalians should be relocated to the Åland Islands, has launched a fresh attack against immigrants and Muslims on a blog entry. Sensible people understand that generalizing about different groups, like Hakkarainen does, is not only wrong but racist. Migrant Tales strongly condemns

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Lives are put on hold at the Karhula, Finland, refugee center

Have you ever visited a refugee center in Finland? I did on Sunday in Karhula, located 130km east of Helsinki. The refugee center, which comprises of two four-story blocks, revealed some of its inhabitants when you reached a small court in its middle hidden from the outside world.  The court, which had bed sheets and

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National Coalition Party of Finland to spearhead ban on begging

Matters are getting tougher in Finland if you are a minority belongs to an affluent group like the Swedish-speaking Finns or a poor one like the Romany minority. What do both initiatives, to demote Swedish to elective status at schools and ban begging, tell about Finland today?  One way to answer the latter question is

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Finnish primary school books still depict foreigners stereotypically

It is quite incredible that one of the best school systems in the world still portrays people from different cultures in a stereotypic manner. Eeva Rinna, a doctoral researcher from Tampere University, claims that textbooks in primary school still depict Africans as bongo players, Cubans as happy and sociable and Germans as hard-working, reports YLE

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Victimizing and labeling immigrants for political profit

UK’s David Cameron is one European PM who is using immigration to bolster his Conservative Party’s poll ratings. It’s a recurring and worrisome political story across Europe: let’s get tough on immigration so we can gain a few percentage points in the polls. This type of campaigning is not only cowardly, but racist and disgraceful.

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Why aren’t we outraged enough by intolerance?

Finnish department store J. Kärkkäinen’s Magneettimedia writings are a disturbing sign of how anti-Semitism, like anti-immigration and anti-Islam sentiment, have gained a foothold in Finland. And why shouldn’t it find fertile ground to grow in this country? During the past years, the genie of intolerance has been let out of the bottle and it shows.  We’re

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Magneettimedia of Finland will no longer publish anti-Semitic writings of David Duke, Ted Pike and others

Magneettimedia editor and owner, Juha Kärkkäinen, will stop publishing anti-Semitic opinion pieces in the free newspaper, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The publication, which advertises the department store’s products, is published online as well.  “A decision has been made with the board and the content [of the publication] must be more market oriented and we must

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Internet policeman Marko Forss mildly reprimanded by deputy ombudsman for tweeting stereotypes of the Roma

Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja mildly reprimanded Internet policeman Marko Forss for tweeting a so-called joke about the Roma, reports YLE. The personal tweet, as Migrant Tales reported in November, spread and strengthened stereotypes about the Roma.  What did Forss, who was named policeman of the year in 2011, tweet? “Some funny things happen in police

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Magneettimedia spreads anti-Semitism in Finland

Should we be surprised if anti-Semitism raises its head in Finland alongside anti-Islam, anti-immigration and anti-gay sentiment? Using the same argument as those who spread hate speech against minorities in this country, Magneettimedia, a publication owned by J. Kärkkäinen, claims that an article by anti-Semitic Ted Pike was published to promote public debate. J. Kärkkäinen is a

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Death threats and the PS threat to our Nordic way of life

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman, Timo Soini, reveals in a recent blog that he got four death threats recently. Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen’s Christian Democratic party received a bomb threat as well, which was reported by tabloid Iltalehti. The death threats are similar to what Swedish-language journalists received a while back. Migrant Tales has been a victim of

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When will the PS sack MP James Hirvisaari?

Recent tweets and Facebook comments by Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari reveal how racism, fascism and right-wing populism have spread like a cancer in Finnish society. Hirvisaari now praises  Seppo Lehto and claims the ultimate far right narcissist, like him, is a nice person.  Would you praise a man who gives Nazi salutes, likes swastikas, insults immigrants and

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Finland’s anti-immigration sentiment surprised a lot of people

Finland is a country that is graying at a rapid pace and needs to bring skilled labor. Some parties, like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), believe that immigration especially from outside the EU should be stopped at all costs. Others don’t mind as long as immigrants bring skills and contribute to society by paying taxes.  In the

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Interior Minister Räsänen disagrees with findings of police report on the Romany minority

Migrant Tales asked Monday what kinds of arguments will politicians now come up with to criminalize begging after a police report didn’t reveal any links between Romany beggars and human trafficking and organized crime. The police report not only exposed  shameful urban legends used to victimize poor Romanies from Romania and Bulgaria, who make 10-20 euros a

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Finnish police: Roma beggars are not victims of human trafficking or linked to organized crime

Remember the hostile reception that Romany beggars have got in the past from some Helsinki municipal politicians like mayor Jussi Pajunen, Christian Democrat Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MPs like Olli Immonen and National Coalition Party MP Arto Satonen, who wants to make begging illegal?  The Finnish police now claims that Romanian and Bulgarian

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Why we must challenge anti-immigration parties across Europe

A political party that bases its popularity on anti-immigration and populist rhetoric is like playing a risky political game of Russian roulette. The game continues until the only bullet in the revolver goes off in your head. Higher bets are placed each time that the revolver doesn’t fire: more xenophobia, more hate speech, more racist

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What does the PS’ new party secretary mean by “tightening [Finnish] immigration policy?”

Left Alliance MP Risto Kalliorinne asks Perussuomalaiset (PS) new party secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo to elaborate what she means by ”tightening immigration policy?” Apart from labeling herself a chauvinist, Slunga-Poutsalo “demanded” that Finland should tighten immigration policy. Read original story here. While Left Alliance MP Kalliorinne poses an important question, we all know the answer that Slunga-Poutsalo

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Ask Finland’s Romany minority about ethnic profiling by the police

Two talk shows today, one on television and another one on radio, on ethnic profiling follows a report published Tuesday by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Contrary to concerns by the ECRI, the police flatly deny in both shows that ethnic profiling takes place even if a policeman at the Helsinki Railway admitted that

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Finnish Defence League strikes Mikkeli, Finland

I was quite surprised to find this rude sticker of the far right Finnish Defence League (FDL) near my home today.  That follows another one placed on a lamppost in front of my house in March 2012 by the neo-Nazi Kansallinen vastarintaliike (SVL).  The good news is that the FDL stickers, which erroneously claim the

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Former SMP leader links Immonen’s writing to Nazis

The former chairman (1979-89) of the Rural Party (SMP), Pekka Vennamo, linked Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen’s recent column to Nazis, according to tabloid Iltalehti. The far right PS MP wrote in his most recent blog entry about how nationalism should play a central role in Finnish politics. Vennamo, who is the son of Veikko

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Blog “neighbor” Zuzeeko: Keep up the great work!

Immigrants and minorities should never forget to stand up for each other, especially if anyone of us is being harassed in a racist manner. When I worked as bureau chief in Colombia, one of the most violent countries in the world at the time,  I always felt that I’d never be abandoned by my employer

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UK study links hate crime with far right EDL

A study in the UK finds that members of the far right English Defense League (EDL) were linked to a third of the abuses against Muslims last year. Almost two in every three cases of anti-Muslim incidents go unreported in the UK, according to Teesside University’s Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies.  Read full report

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Finland never was, is, and will be only “white”

Whenever a far right politician like Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen, Jussi Halla-aho or James Hirvisaari comment on what is or who has the right to be Finnish, they always get it wrong. Their views, that Finland is only white, is not only wrong but a hostile act towards the tens of thousands of Finns

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PS’ Slunga-Poutsalo is “extremely concerned” about Finnish immigration policy

In a short interview on A-Studio Monday, the new party secretary of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) reinforced her anti-immigration stance. “I’m not annoyed by anything concerning immigration,” said PS secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, “but extremely concerned about the immigration policy we pursue in Finland.”  Don’t be fooled, the PS’ new party secretary, Riikka SLunga-Poutsalo, is in the

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Edward Snowden would help to put to rest Finland’s Cold War legacy

Wikileaks said in a statement that whistleblower Edward Snowden had asked for political asylum in twenty-one countries, one of which included Finland. Understanding Finland’s history and its historic suspicion of foreigners, granting a high-profile asylum seeker like Snowden asylum in Finland would not only help to put to rest for good our poor record but have

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New PS party secretary Riikka Slunga Poutsalo “demands” tighter immigration policy

As Migrant Tales correctly pointed out, it didn’t take long for the new party secretary of the Perussuomalaiset (PS), Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, to show her far right anti-immigration credentials. Interviewed by YLE’s 8:30 pm news, Slunga-Poutsalo “demands” Finland should tighten immigration policy further.  Migrant Tales wrote Saturday that one of the aims of the PS annual congress

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The PS’ new Cadillac model of racism

How does intolerance and racism work in Finnish politics? How does it manifest itself today in anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)? A quote by U.S. civil rights leader Malcolm X (1925-65) provides us with a partial clue to these questions: “Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.” Is

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Annual congress: The PS aims to become the biggest party in Finland with anti-EU and anti-immigration platform

The first day of Perussuomalaiset (PS) annual congress in Joensuu (July 29-30) did not produce any surprises but reinforced the party’s anti-immigration, and especially its anti-Islam and anti-cultural diversity stand. The party leadership, starting from Timo Soini to its new secretary, Riikka Slunga-Putsalo, confirm this.  Soini, who was reelected chairman of the party by a

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Sikh busman confident that employer will lift turban ban

Busman Gill Sukhdarshan Singh is confident that his employer, Veolia Transport of Vantaa, will honor a Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency ruling that imposing a turban ban by the employer was discriminatory. Source: Gill Sukhdarshan Singh. ”I have no doubt that that in two months, when I will get written permission from the employer, I will

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Let’s challenge Finland’s disgraceful family reunification obstacles

Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) of Britain shows how organizations can do valuable work in lobbying for change against unfair family reunification laws (see Migrant Tales 28.6.13). Politicians, who have tightened such laws, are short-sighted and have created a tragedy for those who live separated from their loved ones.  The same suffering that separated families suffer in Finland

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PS MP Hirvisaari gets publicly enraged with daily Etelä-Suomen Sanomat

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari has done it again. He didn’t lambast immigrants and Muslims this time, but got publicly enraged with a journalist working for Lahti-based Etelä-Suomen Sanomat (ESS). What happened? Ari Helminen reported that Hirvisaari, together with another PS MP, had the most absences in parliament during spring.  Hirvisaari is from Asikkala, a

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Should Finns trust the police?

“…when the laws have ceased to be executed, as this can only come from the corruption of the republic, the state is already lost.” Montesquieu (1689-1755) A survey by T-Media reveals that Finns trust the most the police, educational and justice system and the least the media, EU and employer’s associations. Of those surveyed, 69%

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Immigrants and visible minorities would be the biggest losers if Supo gets greater online surveillance powers

Is it a coincidence or just bad timing that the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) wants greater online surveillance powers? It was only last week when Edward Snowden revealed to the world how the NSA accessed private information of billions of people without their knowledge never mind their permission.  Read original story here. Who would

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The media should stop stereotyping immigrants!

Black is beautiful, but I have a question: Why is it that whenever there is a story about immigrants or refugees in the Finnish media, the picture that is published with the story is usually of a black man or Muslim woman? Publishing pictures that feed the public a stereotypical image of immigrants does nothing more

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Ariela Patterson: The right to be me on my terms

One of the biggest challenges facing Finland in the new century is to come to terms with its ever-growing cultural diversity. While some Finns have no problems with this, others oppose it. Finland’s cultural diversity is, however, something that nobody can stop. There are today tens of thousands of Finns with multicultural backgrounds. Ariela Patterson,

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OECD study states that immigration boosted Finnish economy

An OECD study claims that immigration boosted the Finnish economy by 0.16% in 2011 including pensions. This revelation is a blow to anti-immigration pundits, who commonly claim that immigration drains social welfare resources and offers no economic benefits. As Migrant Tales has shown over and over again the red herrings, urban tales and outright racism

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Terveisiä Scriptablogista 12 syyskuuta 2008

Yksi monista tuhansista Migrant Tales:ia vastaan kohdistetuista viesteistä, jonka muistan hyvin oli hyökkäys Jussi Halla-ahon Scriptablogista. Alla olevaa viestiä en unohda koskaan. Noin neljän tunnin sisällä, Migrant Talesin blogiin hyökättiin. Hyökkäys torjuttiin ja tänään olemme yksi luetuimpia anti-rasistisia blogeja Suomessa. Nimi :Old No. 7Mitä teen :Kommentoin    Viesti :Mikäs mies tuo Enriikke Tessieeri on olevinaan?

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How serious is the Future of Migration 2020 Strategy?

The more I think of the government’s published white paper on immigration policy made public on Thursday, the more I have reason to worry.  Apart from omitting altogether the term multiculturalism and cultural from diversity in the Future of Migration 2020 Strategy, your suspicions aren’t put to rest by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK),

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Government announces Future of Migration 2020 Strategy

The government published Thursday its Future of Migration 2020 Strategy. While these types of official strategy reports are important and offer a general view, the big question is if they gives us a bigger picture of the direction our society is heading in this century.  Read the white paper (in Finnish) here. An English-language version will be

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European Commission vice president condemns death threats to journalists in Finland

It’s a good matter that the vice president of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, speaks out against the death threats that Swedish- and Finnish-language journalists and public figures have received recently.  Read Neelie Kroes’ blog here. The Dutch vice president of the European Commission expressed concern about media freedom in Finland and Greece. She writes: ”Death

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The NSA and the path to tyranny

A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.  Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) The leak by US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has given us a unique opportunity to ask a vitally important question: Do we want unchecked surveillance? If we give up our right to

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Where are you from?

Even if I have lived most of my adult life in Finland and my mother is Finnish, I’m still asked occasionally where I’m from. In a spirit of mutual respect, I ask the person the same question. Some don’t like it.  The innocent question, where are you from, reveals a lot about our prejudices and

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Buenos Aires Herald (February 12, 1987): The old-new frontier*

Comment: It’s sad to point out 25 years after writing this opinion piece that Argentina has become a poorer country. Emigration continues to be the rule, not the exception. The opening up of the economy to foreign investment during the 1990s was a disaster. Too many foreign companies did not invest in Argentina to make

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Burqas, nijabs, the PS and red herrings

A tabloid Iltalehti story wrote about a heated debate in parliament Friday between the anti-immigration populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) party and the Greens over a draft bill  spearheaded by PS MP Vesa-Matti Saarakkala, which aims to ban the burqa and nijab in public places. The PS MP considers the law as a “preventive measure” even if the nijab

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“Only Finnish spoken here” versus cultural diversity

What would you do if you saw on an elementary school classroom door the following message: Only Finnish spoken here? Would you ask if speaking Swedish is ok? Would it raise disturbing memories of how minorities like the Saami were persecuted and discouraged at school especially after World War 2 for speaking their own language?

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Dissecting Finnish racism and bigotry

“Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.”  Malcolm X (1925-65) The quote by one of the most powerful voices to emerge from the U.S. Civil Rights Movements, reveals how racism survived in the 1960s to see another day. Even though the quote by Malcolm X was made about a

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When Timo Soini and the PS cross the political point of no return

When do you know when Timo Soini and the Perussuomalaiset (PS) have crossed the line and passed a political point of no return? The 50,000-euro ad on the front page of Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest-circulation daily,  blasting the government’s euro bailout policy is one of many examples. While more voters are turning their backs to the

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Suomalaisuuden liitto: Seeing Finland through blue eyes

Suomalaisuuden liittto, an association taken over by the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party to lobby against Finland’s ever-growing cultural diversity, condemns in a statement death threats to leading figures of the Finnish Swedish-speaking community. While it is a good matter that the association’s chairman Sampo Terho condemns such death threats, it is quite another matter if we

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Migrant Tales turns six years today

Migrant Tales celebrates its sixth year as a blog today. Our blog has grown from a humble voice to one that gets noticed in Finland and abroad.  Our aim is a simple: Migrant Tales is a blog community that debates some of the salient issues facing immigrants and minorities in Finland and elsewhere. It aims to be a

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Ombudsman for Minorities responds to Migrant Tales’ queries concerning phone operators and insurance companies

Migrant Tales spoke recently to the office of the Ombudsman for Minorities about two cases by Finland’s mobile phone operators and insurance companies. We asked as well if using the term students with immigrant backgrounds, or maahanmuuttajataustainen, at elementary and middle schools was discriminatory.  The term maahanmuuttajataustainen appears to be so common in some Mikkeli schools that

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Sweden and Woolwich reveal the eager face of intolerance

Be it the riots in Sweden or the tragic murder of a British solider in Woolwich last week, it’s always the eager face of intolerance that is ready to expose itself. The knee-jerk reaction to these events reveals something disturbing about us: our prejudice, intolerance and near-clueless answers on how to move forward in a

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Suurin uhka Euroopalle ovat he, jotka haluavat puolustaa meitä toisilta

Minua ei pelota kulttuurinen moninaisuus puhumattakaan terrorismi. Toisten kulttuurien olemisen kieltäminen globalisoituneessa maailmassa on sama kuin yrittäisi kieltää seksin. Kulttuurinen moninaisuus ja seksi ovat osa ihmisyyttä. On turhaa kieltää jotain niinkin luonnollista. Toki on paljon uhkia. Yksi niistä on  äärioikeistolaiset, populistiset sekä maahanmuuttovastaiset ideologiat, jotka ovat hyvin yleisiä tämänpäiväsissä Euroopassa. Jos emme haasta näitä ilmiöitä

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The biggest threat to Europe are those who claim to be afraid on our behalf

I’m neither afraid of cultural diversity nor terrorism. Being against different cultures in a globalized world is like being against sex. Cultural diversity, interculturalism and sex are part of the human condition. You cannot make them illegal in any way, shape or form.    If we’d embrace far right and mainstream anti-immigration ideologies so common in today’s

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The riots in Stockholm could happen in Finland sooner rather than later

Center Party municipal politician Abdirahim “Husu” Hussein told the Finnish media that the riots we are seeing in the Stockholm suburb of Husby could well happen in Finland in 10-15 years if we commit the same mistakes. The ugly face of intolerance, which is raising its head in Finland conspicuously, reinforces Hussein’s claim.  By “mistakes” I mean

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Fighting racism in Finland the Ricky Ghansah way

Ricky Ghansah is a young African who was being harassed by a “super racist”at a Helsinki bus stop. On entering the bus, Ghansah noticed that the man had forgotten at home his wallet and bus pass. He went to the bus driver and paid the man’s ticket.  Read Facebook thread here. The man, who had

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Calling Timo Soini’s bluff

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) is a desperate party and Timo Soini’s claim over the weekend, that the Social Democrats had abandoned working-class men, is another example of how this populist anti-immigration party bluffs at the political poker table. The type of attack by Soini on the Social Democratic Party is in line with how the party

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Dominic-Savior Chukwu: How to avoid migrant exploitation in the Finnish labor market

  Dominic-Savior Chukwu’s BA thesis addresses some of the challenges that immigrants face when employed at a Finnish company. Apart from practical problems like understanding  the work contract that he or she will sign, some immigrants are apprehensive about demanding their rights.  Chukwu’s states that some migrants come from countries where there are inadequate labor laws

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UPDATE: Black bus driver assaulted in Helsinki

A black bus driver from Somalia was assaulted Tuesday in Helsinki by a white Finn, who apparently didn’t like a black man honking the horn at him.  Ali Dahir, the victim who has been given sick leave from work, was hit by the attacker and suffered concussions.  “I had to stop at an intersection and

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Record number of immigrants become Finnish citizens in 2012

A record number of immigrants got Finnish citizen in 2012, rising by 4,530 to 9,090 persons, according to Statistics Finland. The lion’s share of these naturalized Finns were Russians (2,480) followed by Somalis (610), Estonians (520) and Afghanis.  While citizenship grants many rights to an immigrant, it does not mean that the person will be

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DNA, Saunalahti, IF, Nordea: “Backward-looking” rules and laws mirror Finland’s anti-foreign sentiment

A comment on Migrant Tales by Chef summed up pretty well how “several backward-looking” rules used arbitrarily by mobile phone and insurance companies continue to discriminate and make life difficult for immigrants. Why does this still happen in Finland, a Nordic welfare state country that promotes and bases its values on social equality (tasa-arvo)? The suspicion that

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How ideologically alike is the PS with the UKIP and BNP?

The recent local election victory of the anti-EU and anti-immigration UKIP of Britain is a good example of what Finland experienced with the rise of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in April 2011. While the United Kingdom and Finland are vastly different countries, the knee-jerk reaction of the ruling parties to right-wing populism and rhetoric is strikingly

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Microaggressions: How “law-abiding” community members discriminate

Microaggressions, the subject of a book by Derald Wing Sue of the Teachers College, Columbia University, highlights perfectly one of the ongoing problems in Finland. Microaggressions occur unconsciously and underline inclusion-exclusion and superiority-inferiority.  They are everyday putdowns, insults that aim to undermine the dignity of visible minorities, women, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights

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Kansanedustaja James Hirvisaari ja hänen mielikuvituksellinen Suomi

Perussuomalainen kansanedustaja James Hirvisaaren Facebook sivun kommentit Itä-Suomen hovioikeus tuomiosta niin sanotussa Lieksan Facebook-rasismijutussa, ovat  hyvä esimerkki siitä kuinka suvaitsemattomuus on saanut jalansijan Suomessa. Riippumatta kuinka paljon perussuomalaisten puheenjohtaja Timo Soini haluaa antaa maltillisen kuvan puolueesta, siinä aina nousee samat tekijät ja viha pintaan.  Suomessa vihataan paljon tänä päivänä. Vihataan maahanmuuttajat, homot, feministejä, suomen ruotsalaisia,

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Cecile Kyenge: Italy’s first-ever black minister

The appointment of Italy’s first black cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge, 48, is a good example that we can pull together on a difficult issue like race for too many European countries. Kyenge’s appointment has ushered in a new era in Italy politics. Even so, her appointment has exposed in the raw the nation’s ugly race

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How can we challenge racism if it isn’t a problem?

As long as we don’t see racism as a big enough problem in our society, our response to it will be inefficient. Just like any illness, we must first diagnose it and then prescribe a cure.   It’s disappointing to read how some people can insult others in a racist manner. Yesterday’s news story published

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Suvaitsemattomuudesta ei löydy ratkaisu, koska sitä ei koeta tarpeeksi isoksi ongelmaksi

Tässä on mielestäni ongelman ydin kun puhumme rasistisesta kiusaamisesta koulussa tai häirinnästä julkisella paikalla: jos kiellämme ettei rasismi ole ongelma, lääkkeet sen vastustamiseen ovat puutteelliset.  Tärkeintä on löytää keinot haasta tämä ilmiö koulussa.  On surulista lukea kuinka ihmiset voivat nimettömänä loukata toisia rasistisesti. Eilisen kirjoitus yksinhuoltajasta äidistä ja hänen pojastaan, jotka muuttivat Helsinkiin Mikkelistä rasismin takia, kertoo

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Sara kertoo kuinka hänen poikansa joutui rasistisen kiusauksen kohteeksi Mikkeliläisessä koulussa

Mitä ajattelisit, jos kuulisit afrikkalaisesta yksinhuoltaja äidistä, joka joutui muuttamaan Helsinkiin sen vuoksi että hänen poikansa joutui kokemaan koulussa kiusaamista ja rasismia? Ottaisitko tiedon vastaan ja lakaisisit sen maton alle vakuuttamalla itsellesi ettei tätä voi tapahtua kaupungissa missä asun? Migrant Tales  blogi otti yhteyttä äitiin Sara (nimi muutettu), joka kertoi että hänen ja pojan elämä

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Matias Turkkila reveals how Finnish racism became acceptable thanks to Hommaforum and the PS

Matias Turkkila, the editor of the Perussuomalinen newspaper and founding member of Hommaforum, reinforced on Friday’s A-studio: Stream talk show on hate speech what we always knew: some Finns have serious problems in tolerating others who are different from them. The whole debate surrounding hate speech, freedom of expression and what these two matters are becomes clouded

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Migrant Tales (November 28, 2011): Who is Finland’s Uncle Tom?

Comment: This blog entry was first published on November 28, 2011. For some reason, it’s impossible to access this posting from the old Migrant Tales site.  I have reposted it on www.migranttales.net. _____________________ Is there such a concept as Uncle Tom in Finland? @HelsinkiObs helped me out with this question: “It’s Setä Tuomo (older style)

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Blood strawberries from Nea Manolada, Greece

As Europe’s far right raises its head, the more violent things become. Some 30 migrant workers were injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada, Greece, after requesting salaries that had not been paid. Thanks to @ritorikaxalikia for the heads-up and the poster below.  Writes the BBC:  “The Council of Europe – the main

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Does PS MP Olli Immonen have any idea what Finnish culture is?

There’s a three-part story published on Suomen Kuvalehti with Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen, who states why postmodern movies, or those that don’t strengthen Finnish national identity, shouldn’t be funded by the state. Immonen was elected the new president of Suomen Sisu, an extremist association that discourages white Finns from marrying foreigners.  Suomen Kuvalehti published

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A rude message on a Center Party politician’s door

Abdirahim Husu Hussein, who is a Helsinki Center Party politician and hosts a popular radio talk show on YLE with Ali Jahangiri, his wife was the first to read a rude message written on their apartment door: “Binladen was here.”   If I’d read something similar on my door,  I’d be pretty annoyed to say the least. Some

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Does PS MP James Hirvisaari have any idea what racism is?

Migrant Tales aims to publish on the same day news that appears in the media. There was one opinion piece written on March 21 by Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that should have received our attention.  Our intention is not advertise James Hirvisaari, who was

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Whiteness and white privilege speak European languages

As we hold our collective breaths and await to know the identity of the bombings in Boston Monday, too many don’t see a suspect but a whole ethnicity or religious group. Tim Wise put it very well in an opinion piece where he makes some distributing revelations about the power of whiteness. If we understand

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The Boston bombings reveal a deadlier blowback

I was shocked to hear about the twin bombs in Boston and my heart goes to the victims. Two days after the incident, however, speculation has been rife about the probable ethnicity of the perpetrator. The eerie silence of the killer suggests that this was probably carried out individually.   The latest story on the

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It’s the cultural diversity, stupid!

Would it be fair to say that the biggest challenge facing Finland during this century is accepting its cultural diversity and deconstructing our white national identity in order to make our society more inclusive? Will this happen easily?  The central issue being debated in Finland today about immigrants boils down to one question: How much

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Three news stories that expose the challenges facing Europe: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Roma and official approval of the latter

Three stories this week spoke volumes about the challenges facing Europe during these times: discrimination against Muslims is widespread in many European countries; a string of anti-Semitic attacks have been reported in Eastern Europe; and Hungary’s top journalism prize is awarded to an anti-Semitic and Roma basher.  Despite their geographic differences, all three stories are related shedding light on

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Finland’s response to extremism should be more openess and democracy

An editorial on Thursday’s Helsingin Sanomat comments about Anjem Choudary’s visit to Finland last week. It points out correctly that hate speech should be condemned irrespective who makes it. Living in a culturally diverse society requires more mutual acceptance, not less acceptance and respect. Some of the controversial statements made by the cleric was that

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Risto Helin: The PS says it’s ok to hang around neo-Nazi groups

As Migrant Tales correctly predicted on Thursday, Vaasa Perussuomalaiset (PS) councilman Risto Helin got away with a warning from the party for giving a clock with Hitler to an anti-immigration neo-Nazi group, reports tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. The PS sends a loud and clear message with this decision: It’s ok to hang around neo-Nazi groups and even have the

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Jane Elliott’s blue eyes and brown eyes experiment in racism

After the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, an elementary school teacher called Jane Elliott of Riceville, Iowa, carried out an experiment on her third-graders to demonstrate the destructive force that racism and discrimination unleashes. Since the small farming community had no blacks, she divided her students according to the color of their

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What separates our counterjihadists from jihadists?

Anjem Choudary took part in a talk in Helsinki Thursday about freeing Muslim hostages. The Muslim cleric has said a lot of controversial things in the past like Islam will overrun Europe and that Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama should be killed. He’s even predicted that a “tsunami” of Muslim immigrants will sweep

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The PS shamefully supports neo-Nazism with its silence

Finland is one of the few countries I know in Europe where you can openly support a neo-Nazi group and Nazism and be elected to city council. The only catch is that you belong to the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party and state that your are neither a racist nor a Nazi like Vaasa city councilman Risto

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Council of Europe: No hate speech movement

This campaign, No hate Speech Movement, is long overdue and in great need. It’s a good matter that we are waking up to this menace even if politicians shamelessly play it down. The reason why hate speech exists is because we permit it. In Finland we have politicians who have been sentenced for hate speech.

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The long battle for ethnic equality has begun in Sweden and Finland

One wonders how Sweden’s embattled migration minister, Tobias Billström, could make his “blonde, blue-eyed” comment on asylum seekers and get away with it without losing his job.  Here in Finland we give prime television time to representatives of  racist association like Suomen Sisu, whose views on cultural diversity don’t vary greatly from the U.S. American Nazi

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Why doesn’t YLE differentiate clearly what is news and opinion?

On Friday we saw Suomen Sisu’s new president and Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP, Olli Immonen, publish an opinion piece on YLE as “news.” YLE saw the problem and changed the heading of Immonen’s column to “opinion” from “news.” Migrant Tales published part of an email from YLE explaining that since a reader of this blog considered it

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Case Suomen Sisu: YLE corrects mistake but remains quiet about it

The opinion piece of Suomen Sisu’s new chairman, Olli Immonen, was mistakenly published as “news” on Friday by YLE. That was later corrected by YLE, apparently after the broadcaster got a number of concerned emails from readers. The latest problem? YLE didn’t mention that it had corrected the mistake. Why is this important? Because YLE has

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Länsi-Savo: Osaava ulkomainen työvoima tarpeen

Ei tarvitse mennä kauas todetakseen, että tulevaisuus on jo laskenut Etelä-Savossa: Sulkavan kunnassa 31,1 prosenttia väestöstä on eläkeläisiä ja vastaavat luvut Heinävedellä ja Puumalassa kiipeävät 30 prosenttiin. Mikkelissä asiat ovat hieman paremmin (20,3 prosenttia), mutta huonommat jos vertailemme koko maata (18,1 prosenttia). Alkuperäisen kirjoituksen voi lukea tästä. Etelä-Savo ei ole pelkästään nähnyt sen väestön ikääntymistä nopealla vauhdilla, väestökato

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What Finland can learn from countries like the U.K. about racism

We can learn a lot from countries like the United Kingdom, where multiculturalism is an official social policy. Few won’t deny that the U.K. as well as other European countries don’t know what racism is if we look at their direct involvement in the slave trade and in the systematic genocide of indigenous peoples outside Europe. 

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How far to the right will the PS and Suomen Sisu take Finland?

Even if Suomen Sisu president Olli Immonen and Jussi Halla-aho, both MPs of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, tried to assure television viewers Thursday on A-Talk that the association is neither racist nor far right, nothing could be further from the truth.  In order to keep immigrants and visible minorities disenfranchised, Suomen Sisu must come up

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Cultural diversity: The key question that should have been asked on YLE’s A-Studio talk show

YLE A-Studio had an interesting debate with Perussuomalaisiet (PS) MPs Olli Immonen, Jussi Halla-aho, Left Alliance Helsinki city councilman Dan Koivulaakso and Swedish-language daily HBL journalist Marianne Lydén. Despite assurances by Immonen, Suomen Sisu’s new president, that  the extremist anti-immigration association is against racism, they should their same colors by reinforcing over and over again their

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Timo Soini and Olli Immonen, the foxes in the chicken coop

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini was asked Tuesday by YLE what he thought about PS MP Olli Immonen being elected as the new chairman of Suomen Sisu, an extremist anti-immigration association. Soini offered his usual cock-and-bull answer by comparing Suomen Sisu to a harmless hunting, farming or youth association. It appears that YLE has learned a

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Who do death threats and hate speech intimidate?

Finland’s largest daily Helsingin Sanomat asked twenty-three racism researchers if they had been harassed and received death threats. Sixteen researchers answered the questionnaire of which 14 responded affirmatively that they had received hate mail.  This story by Helsingin Sanomat confirms the concern of other researchers at the University of Eastern Finland. The first time I

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Max Jakobson dies but his legacy and the cold war linger on

This blog entry is dedicated to the late Donald Fields, Helsinki correspondent of the BBC, The Guardian and Politiken to 1988.   I read with mixed thoughts about the death of Max Jakobson (1923-2013),  a diplomat who shaped Finland’s policy of neutrality during the cold war. While I am certain that he was an able

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Is the far right a threat to Finland?

Pia Growchoski asks an important question on her recent blog entry on Migrant Tales: Why is the national media so interested in far right groups and their resentful rhetoric? Why do we give space to Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini’s blatant incompetence on our Facebook pages? Are we in denial about what these groups represent

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Is Finland in the anti-racism farm leagues?

On a recent Migrant Tales blog entry we wrote about racist harassment and bullying at schools. For some parents, the problem is so serious at some schools that the only solution is to move to another city like Helsinki, where there are more visible minorities and immigrants. Source: The Speak Out project. Why are we still in

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How do Finnish schools treat cultural diversity?

In theory, the answer is straightforward: Finnish schools should respect cultural diversity but a lot depends on the school and the principle.  If we compare how elementary and middle schools treated visible minority students in the 1990s, we hope that matters have improved since then.  But have they?  Cultural diversity in Finland up to the

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Finnish police find list of hundreds of “enemies” at neo-Nazi’s home

The Finnish police, who are investigating neo-Nazi Kansalinen Vastarinta (KV) activists for storming a book event on the far right in Jyväskylä in late-January, have found over 300 photos and personal information of “enemies” on one of the suspect’s memory stick, according to the police.  Writes YLE in English: “The [memory] stick contained details about the religious and

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Swedish People’s Party chairman challenges (without luck) PS head Soini on racism

Migrant Tales raises its hat to Swedish People’s Party chairman, Carl Haglund, for challenging Perussuomalaiset (PS) Timo Soini on Helsingin Sanomat to an open debate about racism. Apart from immigrants and visible minorities, Finland’s Swedish-speaking population, which number about 291,000, has been under near-constant attack by the PS.  It is unfortunate but understandable in today’s Finland that only

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Anti-gay vote in Finland was a vote for intolerance

The vote to defeat the draft bill that would have legalized gay marriage by the legal committee of parliament sets not only a dangerous precedent but reveals Finland’s ever-hardened stance not only against gays, but against all minorities. If there were a Hall of Shame for MPs, its members would consist of those who voted against the gay-marriage

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Finnish parliamentary committee votes 9-8 against gay marriage

A draft law to legalize gay marriage in Finland has been defeated by a vote of 9-8 by the legal committee of parliament, reports Uusi Suomi, citing Tweets by Green Party MP Jani Toivola and Aino-Kaisa Pekonen of the Left Alliance.  Green MP Jani Toivola tweeted that he was “disappointed” by the gay marriage vote today. The members

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Far right and anti-immigration quotes in English by the PS

There’s a new site that publishes quotes by your favorite Perussuomalaiset (PS) politician in English. Those PS politicians are none other than Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari and Juho Eerola.   You can visit the site at truefinns.tumblr.com The editors state the following: “Quotes by some leading politicians of the True Finns party. Note that we do

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PS MP Hirvisaari now says he was “pressured” to resign from Suomen Sisu

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari, who was convicted for ethnic agitation in December, announced Saturday on Twitter that he was “pressured” to resign from the extremist Suomen Sisu association. He announced on Friday that he was resigning from Suomen Sisu because he was too old to belong to “a youth organization.” Hirvisaari tweets, “The truth:

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Finland’s biggest threat is itself

As Finland awakens to the reality that it is a culturally diverse society, one of the biggest threats and challenges we face doesn’t come from abroad but from our backyard. When the Civil Rights Movement ended in the United States in 1968, the first matter that we learned we should stop doing is generalizing about blacks

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Far right PS MP Hirvisaari resigns from Suomen Sisu

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari, who was convicted for ethnic agitation in December, announced on his blog that he has resigned from the extremist Suomen Sisu association. The whole announcement is fishy: Why is Hirvisaari resigning now? Does it make any difference? Who cares.  The Supreme Court upheld in June Hirvisaari’s ethnic agitation conviction. Hirvisaari’s

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Ethnic agitation charges will be brought against another PS politician

Charges of ethnic agitation will be brought by deputy state prosecutor Jorma Kalske against Kontiolahti councilman Mika Hiltunen, reports YLE. Hiltunen claimed on his Facebook page in January that refugees and asylum seekers “are social-welfare bums and rapists.”  JusticeDemon asks an interesting question about the case: “… this particular statute [Section 10 of chapter 11 of

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Timo Soini’s fast one: “Only one or two [racist] outbursts”

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman, Timo Soini, claimed on BBC’s HARDtalk that his party doesn’t have a strand of racism because there were only “one or two [racist] outbursts” in the past. Only one or two?! Try a long and disgraceful list of racist outbursts, criminal convictions and shameful denials Mr. Soini.  The HARDtalk interview with Stephen

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BBC’s HARDtalk: Soini defends decision to not sack Halla-aho

Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman, Timo Soini, said on BBC’s HARDTalk that the five-year ordeal that lead to a Supreme Court ruling against PS MP Jussi Halla-aho for inciting ethnic hatred was enough punishment, according to YLE. Soini had promised previously to sack any member of the party if they were sentenced by a court for hate speech. 

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Former undocumented immigrant Edgar Ortega: A true survivor

I read a fascinating story on YLE in English about a former undocumented immigrant in Finland, Edgar Ortega of Mexico. He’s a true survivor. Ortega would clean construction sites, distribute pizza adverts and engage in other work before he got a residence permit.  Ortega made 4-5 euros an hour as an undocumented immigrant, according to

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FIS: Somali family reunifications plummeted to just over 500 in 2012

The number of Somali family reunification applications in 2012 plummeted to just over 500 application compared with 1,900 in the previous year and 3,900 in 2010, reports Helsingin Sanomat, citing the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS).   There were a total of 8,600 applications in 2012. The highest number were from were from citizens of the

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How far has the PS beachhead spread in twenty-two months?

Migrant Tales wrote the following day after the historic April 17, 2011 election had sent shock waves throughout Finland and Europe: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland.”  Back then, our blog got got cited by Time Magazine. The above quote was a response to

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Oulu city councillor and transsexual attacked

Green Party Oulu city councillor, Janne Hakkarainen, was attacked and beaten over the weekend while accompanying  a transexual, reports Oulu-based daily Kaleva. Hakkarainen said that three men attacked them in a park after he  accompanied his friend home from a bar after 4:30am.     Fortunately a person spotted what was happening and forced the

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Helsinki’s and Greater Helsinki’s immigrant population to rise by over 131% in 20 years

A forecast that will be published Monday by Statistics Finland sees the immigrant population of Helsinki and its surroundings rising by over 131% in two decades to around 300,000 from 130,000, reports YLE in English, citing Swedish-language daily Hufvustadsbladet. Writes Yle in English: “Most non-Finnish speakers come to Finland and the Helsinki region from Africa

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PS MP Hirvisaari goes off the wall as Finnish appeals court upholds Van Wonterghem’s hate speech sentence

The Finnish appeals court announced Wednesday that it has upheld a district court decision to fine Perussuomalaiset (PS) Kotka city councillor Freddy van Wonterghem for inciting ethnic hatred.     While Van Wonterghem is a small fry in the anti-immigration party, far-right PS MP James Hirvisaari blew his stack by slamming the appeals court decision

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PS MP James Hirvisaari and his Nazi-SS YouTube video

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari has been caught once again with his hand in the extremist cookie jar. Lahti-based Etelä-Suomen Sanomat reports that Hirvisaari  had uploaded a Nazi video years ago that glorifies the SS.  Hirvisaari uploaded the video as ”allamarcia” but it was originally published by kingtiger88 in March 2007. The video, which shows

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Nipping prejudice in the bud with our example

We must find effective ways to nip prejudice in the bud. The worst matter we can do when it happens is our silence, which emboldens and strengthens intolerance to see a new day. How you may ask can we challenge such social ills? The answer is simple: our example and leadership.  Racist rants are usually

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Jyväskylä may turn into another blow to Finland’s Counterjihadist -anti-immigration hardliners

If the Counterjihadist-anti-immigration tide turned in Finland and the Nordic region after 22/7, when Anders Breivik went on the rampage killing 77 innocent people, the attack in Jyväskylä on Wednesday by suspected far-right thugs could be a serious blow to anti-immigration and far right groups in Finland.  Whenever hatred metamorphoses into violence, like in the case

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Red Herring tales (Part 2): City of Vaasa bans the burkini

As expected, the Vaasa city leisure committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to prohibit the use of burkinis. The committee claims that the swimming outfit, consisting of a head scarf, tunic and trousers designed for Muslim women, is a dangerous to the swimmer and unhygienic. It’s unclear from the rules if Muslims are required to go to the sauna naked.

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Post-Jyväskylä: Where do we go from here?

Considering how the media treated before the April 2011 election racism and far right ideology and how social media sites were teeming with racist online lynch mobs, we are today waking up from the hangover of our state of social inebriation. The aftereffect will not go away in a day, week, or month but will

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PS’ second vice president doesn’t condemn but “gives advice”to Jyväskylä’s neo-Nazi attackers

Perussuomalaiset (PS) second vice president, MP Juho Eerola, did not condemn the attacks in Jyväskylä by suspected neo-Nazi thugs but advised them how to do it more effectively, reports National Coalition Party’s online Verkkouutiset. Writes Eerola:  “The next time don’t look like “patriots” when you plan to enter such an event.  Don’t go as a group

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Labels that fuel discrimination and racism in Finland

When will Finns drop this discriminatory term: Finns with immigrant backgrounds? Many, I suspect, are and should be proud of their background. I am but what happens if these labels and terms ensure that you will continue to be treated as something less equal?  What do you do if being labeled in such a way

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Timo Soini and his pact with the devil

The cracks in the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party are widening as the latest Kai Haavisto-James Hirvisaari scandal proves. The PS has reached a dead end with its present band of politicians. With the complicity of the near-silence of other parties, no other political group in modern Finnish times has created so much resentment and hatred towards

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Was PS MP James Hirvisaari bullied at school and in the army?

The most recent scandal to rock the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is another sad chapter in the history of the right-wing populist party and for the same reason: racism. The culprits are now MP James Hirvisaari and Kai Haavisto, member of the party’s Uusimaa regional board. What’s wrong with these people? How can anyone who can

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Rule number one about racism: Don’t generalize!

It is amazing that people who should know better have never learned one very important fact: Don’t generalize about ethnic groups.  We’d avoid a lot of harm to ourselves (living in the narrow world of hate and racism) and others (labeling and victimizing) if we stopped generalizing about ethnic groups. The suggestion by Kai Haavisto,

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Anti-immigration sound-bite: Rape! Rape! RAPE!

I was surprised to read a blog post on Uusi Suomi by Kai Haavisto, a Perussuomalaiset (PS) politician from Espoo, who suggested that those groups that are prone to commit rape should be castrated chemically before being allowed to live in Finland.  Haavisto is well-known for his racist views. One of his blog entries in

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Journalists should question instead of spread racism and prejudice

Journalists are one group that have helped to spread and reinforce our prejudices and racism of other groups. There’s nothing surprising about this considering that journalists, like the media that employs them, mirror in part what the public feels.  Ilta-Sanomat is one tabloid resonsible for spreading racism in Finland during the 1990s. This billboard tells

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Slandering immigrants and visible minorities is disgraceful

A politician of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party has come under fire today for claiming on Facebook that all refugees and asylum seekers are social bums and rapists, reports YLE. Migrant Tales published on Sunday a blog entry citing a ministry of justice researcher, who claimed that certain anti-immigration groups in Finland distort crime statistics in

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Migrant Tales literary: Pikavippilaulu

 Älä koskee pikavippiin se ei ole turvallista ei sinulle, ei minulle, ei kenellekään. Jos sä kosket pikavippiin älä itke minulle, ei kenellekään, ei kenellekään.   Pikavippi ei ole hyvä! Pikavippi on karmea! Pikavippi tuhoaa perheesi.   Sanat: Enrique Tessieri ja Sher Hser

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Länsi-Savo and toilet etiquette for Russians

An article on Friday’s Länsi-Savo, a Mikkeli-based daily, is a good example of how old stereotypes are kept alive in this part of Finland. The article, headlined ABC Juva teaches Russians how to use the toilet bowl, reveals more than anything else our stereotypes and prejudices against Russians.  Länsi-Savo is the biggest newspaper in Etelä-Savo,

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Rasismin kieltäminen on uusrasismia

Syrjinnän ja rasismin ilmiöt ovat universaaleja, ja Suomessa näkyvät ongelmat esiintyvät myös muualla mutta ehkä eri kontekstissa. Katsokaa seuraava video ja korvatka seuraavat sanat: America = Suomi GOP (Republican Party) = mm. Perussuomalaiset Black crime = maahanmuuttajien rikollisuus Suomessa  

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Cultural diversity in Finland: A letter from Ida, Abdulah and Joseph

COMMENT: Migrant Tales has always been interested in publishing the experiences of Finns with multicultural backgrounds. The letter by “Ida” below is one of the first we ever published on this blog in September 2008. There are others ones aboutSomali-Finn Abdulah, Living in no-man’s land, and Joseph, What being Finnish means to me. While all of

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Denying racism is the new racism

The more we debate racism, the more our ignorance is exposed in the raw.* This is a good matter because when we begin to see the light at the end of this debate, we can start wiping off our ignorance and replace it with knowledge. Even so, denial is still rampant. Bill Maher said: “Denying racism is

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Abdirahim’s and Ali’s radio show begins today at 1pm on YLE

Abdirahim Hussein and Ali Jahangiri kick off their weekly hour-long radio program on YLE today at 1pm. I know both persons. I especially like Abdirahim because his sincere no-nonsense about cultural diversity issues.  Ali is a talented speaker as well, trying to use humor to address a serious social ill like racism and acceptance. One

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Lip service and inaction water poisonous plants like racism

Instead of debating whether racism and prejudice are serious problems or not in Finland, why not look at the factors that permit their existence in our society? A good starting point could be asking oneself the following question: Is our reaction to such social ills a reaction?  Inaction, be it in the form of lip

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Finland plans to charge tuition fees to foreign students

Over half (119) of Finland’s 200 MPs are in favor of charging tuition fees to foreign students, according to YLE in English. The bill is being spearheaded by three parties known for their anti-immigration stances: National Coalition Party (37 MPs), Perussuomalaiset (39), and Center Party (29). Is the new bill a sign of how Finland is

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A cartoon that reveals a truth about integration and diversity in Europe

Sometimes when I read about how immigrants, their children and grandchildren are treated in some European countries, this cartoon comes to mind.  After the first warning and after you understand fully the but after the ” we’re a very tolerant society…” line,  many will encounter the wall of  institutional racism, the final icing of your integration cake

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Charging Kunnollisvaalit 2012 blog would be a setback for Finland

A statement by Kunnollisvaalit 2012, a blog that exposes far right writings of Finnish politicians who ran for city council in the October municipal elections, states that it may face charges for inciting ethnic hatred for publishing snapshots of such candidates. Due to the adverse anti-immigration climate in Finland, some so-called anti-racists usually prefer to

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Onko Umayya Abu-Hannan tapaus yksilöllinen tai laajempi ilmiö?

Olin hyvin hämmästynyt kun Adoptioperheet ry:n toiminnanjohtaja Anu Uhtio reagoi nyt Umayya Abu-Hannan kirjoituksen viime sunnuntain Helsingin Sanomissa. Samalla tavalla kun Abu-Hannan ja Ulla Appelsinin sanallinen ottelu, Uhtio yrittää vähätellä rasisminilmiön Suomessa vakuuttamalla, että rasistiset kokemukset ovat yksilöllisiä. Hän sanoi Iltalehdessä: ”Ei minulla ole mitään syytä epäillä, ettei näin ole, mutta se ei edusta mitenkään laajasti perheiden kokemusta,” sanoi

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Racism is alive and well in the PS as well as in other parties

Husein Mohammed raised an important point on a recent blog entry where he reviewed Umayya Abu-Hanna’s  latest book, Multikulti. He asks if the Perussuomalaiset (PS) is the only intolerant party in Finland. He writes: “The term racism is used quite a lot in [Abu-Hanna’s] book but there’s no mention of violence, visible or about racism in [other Finnish] political

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Rebecka Holm: The adolescent who spoke out against racism

Rebecka Holm, who was 14 years old last January, rallied enough courage back then to write a letter to HBL* that changed her life. That letter to the editor spoke openly about her multicultural background and racist harassment. In March, she was given the Red Cross Award on the UN Day Against Racism for her courage and example.  Rebecka

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Promoting tolerance now and tomorrow

In Migrant Tales’ Finland & Cultural Diversity 2012 review, it’s clear that a lot more work needs to be done to promote tolerance. Thanks to Umayya Abu-Hanna’s column on Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat,* our collective complacency was once again shamefully revealed. Racism, or the lack of acceptance of other ethnic groups as equals in our society,

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My naïvity and the Finns

When I moved to Finland in December 1978, I wasn’t naïve about Finland, but super naïve. I was so confiding that I actually believed all Finns were honest. If happiness were a spider, it would spin a web to catch our good thoughts. Apart from a strong admiration for the forests and people who inhabited

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Finland & Cultural Diversity 2012*

If 2011 was a watershed year for Finland with the historic rise of  a hostile party against immigrants and visible minorities in last year’s parliamentary elections, 2012 will be seen as a bittersweet turning point for the Perussuomalaiset (PS).  The year will be remembered as a very violent one for immigrants as well. During “Black

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2012 was another disappointing year for cultural diversity in Finland

Without a doubt, 2012 will be remembered as another bad year for cultural diversity in Finland. Finding the usual culprits isn’t difficult: ignorance and intolerance. It is surprising that a party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), which grew from relative obscurity to become the third-largest political force in parliament in 2011, can wake up the worst

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The oddly unspoken topic of racism

“Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.” Pierre Berton (1920-2004) Many visitors have come and gone on Migrant Tales. Those that jump the MT ship the soonest are those who choose to justify a

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The same face of intolerance lives amongst us today

When I was growing up in the 1970s, one of the matters that followed me around was the constant news of the mass murder and cemetery silence imposed by ruthless Latin American dictatorships. If you lived in one of those countries where human rights violations were the rule, you were confronted by two options: take

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Police College of Finland: Hate crimes rise by 7% in 2011

A total of 918 suspected hate crimes were reported in Finland in 2011, which is a 7% rise from 860 cases in the previous year, according to the Police College of Finland. Compared with the previous years, suspected hate crime cases have not risen significantly, according to researcher Iina Sahramäki. “If we look the previous

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Finnish police to have new anti-ethnic profiling guidelines in force in 2013

Rainer Hiltunen, Ombudsman for Minorities head of office, told Migrant Tales that talks have taken place with the Finnish police to draft new guidelines and more effective monitoring to ensure that ethnic profiling doesn’t happen. The new guidelines are expected to be in force in 2013.  The Ombudsman for Minorities office expressed concern in spring about higher-than-average complaints from

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What are immigrants supposed to adapt to?

One of the biggest questions when speaking of the integration of immigrants and visible minorities in Europe and Finland is what are they supposed to adapt to. In theory everything sounds perfect in our law books. What happens on the ground, however, is a totally different story.  This abandoned Cadillac reveals the crude face of

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Is there such a thing as “age racism?”

Pro union chairman Antti Rinne branded as “age racism” (ikärasismia) a proposal by Juhana Vartianen, director general of the Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT), to lower salaries for workers approaching retirement age, reports YLE. Is there such a thing as age racism? Shouldn’t the correct term be age discrimination (ikäsyrjintä)? Read English-language YLE story here.

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The Finnish media and their PS darling

Did anyone watch Thursday’s Pressiklubi show with Li Andersson of the Left Wing Alliance, Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini and Helsingin Sanomat politics and business editor, Marko Junkkari? Apart from Soini’s usual political blah-blah (sound colorful but don’t say anything), Junkkari’s comment about how the Finnish media saw the PS as their darling before the

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Taming the beast of right-wing extremism in the EU and Finland

Our reaction to racism should be first and foremost a reaction.  A comprehensive report published recently by the Institute for Strategic Studies in Sweden not only exposes far-right or right-wing extremism in ten European Union countries, but its historical roots as well. While these extremist groups may have different names in different countries, they are all

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Institute for Strategic Studies: Preventing and Countering Far-Right Extremism – European Cooperation

Here’s a good country-by-country report on the history and modern growth of right-wing extremism in ten European Union countries  (Sweden, UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic).   Read full report here. As Migrant Tales has correctly reported time and again, the biggest sources of right-wing extremism in Finland are the

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How discrimination works in Finnish basketball

If there is a game that is played by people from diverse backgrounds, that game is basketball. When I moved to the United States as a child, basketball was my door to new friends and acceptance.  Basketball was a way of life in Hollywood, California, for many young people like me. In Finland it is

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FRA: Hate crime a daily matter in the European Union

Two recent reports published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) confirm that hate crime happens daily throughout the European Union (EU). One of the reports reveals that 32% of Somalis interviewed by the agency that live in Finland reported being victims of hate crimes during the past 12 months. Other countries in

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Mulitucltural Ireland’s vision should be ours as well

Why is it that we don’t hear Finnish politicians speaking in the same manner as Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins, who said that a major task of the country’s EU presidency should be to remove ignorance and misunderstanding, which lead to “incipient forms of racism,” writes the Irishtimes.com.  Speaking at the launch of the Neighborhood

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Finland celebrates its 95th independence day

As Finland celebrates today its 95th anniversary as an independent nation, the noble values of acceptance, respect and inclusion should resonate in the Finnish expat community and in this country, from Helsinki all the way north to Ohcejohka (Utsjoki).  What is the big picture we should strive for as a society in this century?  English

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Another scandal hits far-right Sweden Democrats

Sweden Democrat (SD) MP Lars Isovaara is resigning his seat after he spat at a parliamentary security guard, reports The Local. The latest scandal to the far-right party follows an earlier one this month after Swedish tabloid Expressen published a video of an SD MP who got rowdy  in public and hurled racist and sexist

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Turun Sanomat: Is dual citizenship a threat to Finland?

An article on Turun Sanomat quotes Turku School of Economics professor, Kari Liuhto, stating that dual citizenship rights in Finland were a mistake in light of the recent child custody row that erupted in October between Finland and Russia. Liuhto believes that dual citizenship rights granted in 1999 in this country give Russia the opportunity

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The PS’ anti-immigration message suffers a hard blow

Despite the fact that the debate in Finland on immigrants and immigration has taken a turn for the worse in some respects, it’s not as bad as it used to be before the April 2011 parliamentary elections and when Anders Breivik went on his murderous rampage on July 22, 2011. While anti-immigration politicians still want

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Send kudos to those who speak out against racism

We must change the ever-adverse debate against immigrants and visible minorities in Finland.  The way to end it is by giving our silence a voice and by sending kudos to those who have the courage to speak out against racism and prejudice. Source: Lake Harriet Community School. Migrant Tales would like to give kudos Tuija

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Turun Sanomat: Finland Democrats eye PS’ anti-immigration vote

The Finland Democrats, which bases its political agenda on the far-right Sweden Democrats, aims to become a new party and compete for the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s anti-immigration vote, reports Turun Sanomat. The creation of a new anti-immigration party reveals the ever-negative debate in Finland surrounding immigrants and immigration.   The PS is the only party that

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Kouvolan Sanomat: Racism on the rise in the Finnish city of Kouvola

A city official that works with immigrants in refugees in the city of Kouvola, located 100km north of Helsinki, claims that racism and social exclusion are on the rise, reports Kourolvan Sanomat. The official, Tuija Värynen, said that complaints by immigrants of more racism and harassment rose clearly in March-April. Victims of racism can be

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Swedish immigrant killer is sentenced to life in prison

Peter Mangs, the Swedish gunman convicted of two murders and five attempted murders, was sentenced Friday by the Mälmö District Court to life in prison, reports ABC News, citing AP.   The court found Mangs guilty in July  but his sentence was delayed pending a psychiatric evaluation that found him to be sane. The forty-year-old man, who

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Halla-aho wants to ease deportation law

Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MP Jussi Halla-aho and his far-right Suomen Sisu and anti-immigration cronies would like to tighten immigration laws further by making it easier to deport convicted foreigners, reports YLE in English.  Presently, foreigners “may” be deported from Finland if they are convicted of a crime. Halla-aho wants the word “may” to be changed

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Is Timo Soini losing his grip of the PS?

For those who haven’t noticed, Perussuomalaiset (PS) anti-immigration hardliners like MP Jussi Halla-aho and James Hirvisaari have tried to show their human side to the media. Halla-aho was recently interviewed with his wife Hilla on Me Naiset, while Hirvisaari writes on a blog entry hitherto-unheard empathy and understanding for his archenemy, the media.   Some of Finland’s

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The true face of the PS is being exposed by its poor election results

There’s an interesting editoral on Saturdary’s Helsingin Sanomat (HS) that shows how close Nordic anti-immigration are when it comes to the support they received in recent elections and poll standings. Migrant Tales wrote six days after Anders Breivik murdered in cold blood 77 people on July 22, 2011 that the tide had turned for far right anti-immigration parties

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The SD (and PS) are far-right anti-immigration parties

There’s an interesting opinion piece on Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter about the Swedish Democrats (SD) and the spread of fascism or neofascism in the Scandinavian country.  While classifying a party as “fascist” may be problematic, there are certain ideological characteristics that expose its true political colors.  Historian and journalist Henrik Arnstad writes: “Fascism is a deeply

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Racism scandal rips far-right Sweden Democrats

Here’s an interesting story that took place in June 2010 in Sweden involving a far-right Sweden Democrat (SD) MP, Erik Almqvist, who got rowdy and started hurling racist and sexist insults in public, reports Swedish tabloid Expressen. The MP naturally denied everything until Expressen published today a video confirming what others claimed he said. After repeated denials, Almqvist

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MP Hirvisaari claims PS anti-immigration message not strong enough

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James (Erkki Kalevi) Hirvisaari claims that his party did poorly in the municipal elections because it wasn’t as outspoken on immigration issues as before the 2011 parliamentary elections, according to YLE. Migrant Tales disagrees. The PS did poorly in the municipal elections because of the crackpot stuff they say and do to

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Reports: Greatest threat to immigrants are not far-right groups in Sweden

Two reports published on November 9 in Sweden show that the greatest threat to immigrants and visible minorities in that country aren’t far-right groups, but everyday intolerance and racism from white Swedes. What does this report say about Sweden and suggest about how foreigners are treated in Finland? Contrary to our neighbor, Finland’s third-largest party

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What Saul Schubak did wrong in Finland

Saul Schubak, the National Coalition Party politician who said that ”inferior people” should not get child allowances, resigned Friday as vice president of the party’s youth wing. If there is a lesson to be learned from the Schubak scandal, it’s which group you insult.  If Schubak speaks of ”inferior people” and gets dumped by his

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Paavo Lipponen does not see far right threatening Finland

There are few politicians in Finland who speak out against the far-right threat in Finland. One of these is former Social Democrat Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who expressed concern about the issue in a seminar in Helsinki on deportation of Jews to Germany in World War 2, reports Iltalehti.  Lipponen expressed surprise that some parties use

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Finland must do more to ghostbust its race-and-blood myths

What do the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) and Kokoomus’ Saul Schubak’s statements concerning child allowances have in common?  Setting racism and greed aside, they are the ethnic and social myths that continue to be taught and reinforced at our schools, homes and society.  One of the biggest myths and social

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Migrant Tales Literary: We’re already here (in Finland)

We are the new minorty already here, if you like it or not ready to build whatever needs building and travel that long difficult path of acceptance. Like it or not we’re your neighbors and don’t forget, that we’re here like chimapnzees swinging on birches, sixes and aspens in this freezing cold with you, albino

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What some Finnish conservatives think of the poor

Saul Schubak, the vice chairman of the National Coalition Party’s youth wing, has unleashed a storm due to his views on poverty. Schubak wrote on Facebook that people who aren’t fit to parent should not receive child allowances. He writes on his original post: ”Child allowances should be definitely eliminated. It’s absurd that we give

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Finland’s problem that is correcting itself: lack of cultural diversity

Finland hasn’t been the same since the April 2011 elections, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won its historic victory and became Finland’s third-largest party with 39 seats versus 5 seats in 2007. The PS’ latest election flop is another indication that the vast majority of Finns and immigrants are giving the thumbs down to anti-almost-everything populism. The

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Migrant Tales gets mentioned on YLE Areena

Migrant Tales is always happy about the public recognition it has received in the past. The latest is from Mikko Kapanen of YLE Areena. He considers Migrant Tales to be one of the most influential blogs forums on multiculturalism in Finland. Click here to listen to the program. Kapanen published in May a blog entry called, Africa

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The Finnish city of Kemi gives us Harri Taurianen of the PS

Harri Taurianen, the new Perussuomalaiset (PS) city councilor of the northern Finnish city of Kemi,  is a good example of how the PS continues to attracts a generous number of people who are multiculturally challenged. Taurianen, who claims it’s good to uphold Finnish values and likes to spread far-right blah blah, imported his campaign slogans

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A “Welcome to Finland” video that is racist and insulting

Thanks to two friends, I was able to watch a “Welcome to Finland” video funded by the Finnish and Swedish film boards as well as the Nordic Children and Youth Committee. Writes Ilona: “You don’t need to speak the [Finnish] language to understand the depth of shameful, racist humiliation being enacted here.” You can watch

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More Mamukriit-Looks candidates of Finland

How long could the ever-growing list of anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) candidates be on Mamukriit-Looks? Too long for a good country like Finland to be overrun by candidates who spread prejudice and hatred. Below are some new Mamukriit-Looks candidates.  Jan Igor Hirvimäki of Salo suggests that social welfare to blacks (he uses the n-work on his

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The majority of Mamukriit-Looks candidates got elected to office in Finland

Migrant Tales published earlier this month Mamukriit-Looks: The who’s who of anti-immigration Finland, which was a continuation of Per-Looks, a blog entry than caused outrage among some Perussuomalaiset (PS) candidates running for city council. Even if both blog entries were published with a dose of satire, the election of many PS anti-immigration candidates to city council

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PS anti-immigration candidates did well in the Finnish municipal elections

What do Sunday’s municipal elections tell us about where Finland is heading politically? Even if the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won 12.3% of the votes, which was a disappointment for Timo Soini, it reinforces Finland’s anti-EU and anti-immigration stance. The biggest winner of the election was the Center Party (18.7%), which had lost a lot

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Timo Soini on racism: See no evil, hear no evil

It is surprising how a politician like Timo Soini of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party can argue anything he wants on television about immigrants and visible minorities. His objection to positive discrimination on a debate on MTV3 Wednesday is a case in point.  Migrant Tales has  written in the past about colorblind racism, which is one of the most common

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Racism charges dropped against Danish teacher

Charges have been dropped against an Odense, Denmark, head teacher who had reportedly abused a group of Muslim students in class, reports The Copenhagen Post. Far-right anti-Islam Danish People’s Party former head, Pia Kjaersgaard, described the whole affair as ”ridiculous.” “It’s crazy that the police have to get involved in such a case,” Danish People’s

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Immigrants that look down on other immigrants

The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow. William Blake Some immigrants who have lived in Finland for many decades have adapted so well to this country that even their prejudices and stereotypes are just like those of the locals. Some, like Alain Chiaroni or Freddy Van Wonterghem, however, go beyond the call

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Julian Abagond: Of mixed-race identities

COMMENT: Some Finns have resolved the “mixed-ethnicity” question by stating that there is only one kind in Finland. Such an affirmation, that there is only one type of “real” Finn, is as ludicrous as stating that racism doesn’t exist in this country. What does a white Finn say when he asks about your “other mixed”

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Finland’s present demographic challenges are a threat to its prosperity

Finland will see dramatic changes to its population age structure in the next four decades, when the number of over-64-year-olds will soar by 941,000 to 1.639 million people, according to MTV3, citing Statistics Finland. Likewise, our labor force will shrink by an estimated 600,000 people in about 25 years.  It is surprising, if not worrying, that the majority

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The lack of cultural diversity is impoverishing Finland

Jussi Jalonen, a Tampere University history researcher, asked recently why a populist party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) continues to grow in popularity despite the numerous scandals that have riddled the group. There is an answer: Finland’s lack of cultural diversity. How is it possible that a party like the PS can win 39 seats in

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Mamukriit-Looks: The who’s who of anti-immigration Finland

You’ve heard of Per-Looks, the latest fad taking the Finnish social media scene by storm last week.  We now give you Mamukriit-Looks, a gallery of Perussuomalaiset (PS) politicians running for office in the October 28 municipal elections who have built their political careers on anti-immigration and anti-Islam sentiment. In the picture gallery below, you will

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The PS’ shameful and opportunistic stand on refugees

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s municipal election program recommends that municipalities should not accept refugees because the best way to help people fleeing strife is in refugee camps bordering these war-ravaged countries.  This stand by the PS is so extreme that many PS municipal candidates have not endorsed it except for Counterjihadists like PS MP James Hirvisaari (see question

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Ajankohtainen kakkonen: Four immigrant candidates

There’s an interesting news documentary this week on Ajankohtainen kakkonen about immigrant candidates taking part in the October 28 municipal elections. One matter that bothered me about the program was the use of the word mamu by the reporters when referring to the candidates. Mamu is the shortened word for maahanmuuttajia, or immigrant. There are mixed opinions

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New World Finn: Open the doors

Twenty-five years ago, when I worked briefly for the Buenos Aires Herald as a young reporter, I wrote a column about how Argentina’s past could come to haunt it in the future. The last military regime (1976-83) that ruled the country was one of the most ruthless that Latin America had seen during the last

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The PS campaigns for closed-door policy for refugees

I was surprised to read the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s municipal election program on refugees. It states that municipalities should not accept refugees because the best way to help these people is in refugee camps bordering their country. Finland holds municipal elections on October 28. The PS are expected to be one of the clear winners

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Enrique Tessieri: Why I write about racism

I write about racism and social exclusion in Finland because it affects me and those I care about. I should know because I used to live marginalized from this society for decades.  I didn’t live marginalized because I was maladapted. I was marginalized because I was well-adapted. Too many didn’t consider me a “real” Finn

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We will win the battle against hate speech and intolerance

Much is at stake as Finland and Europe speeds into the depths of the new century. One of the greatest  threats to our way of life and society today is hate speech and far-right ideology. Our resolve to identify and challenge these menaces is crucial during these times. Even if the media, politicians and public

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The Rautiainen scandal: The PS’ short and selective memory

The Amon Rautiainen* scandal, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) municipal council candidate in Kotka who suggested on Facebook that Muslims should be boiled alive, reveals the Finnish anti-immigration party’s short and selective memory.  Freddy Van Wanterghem, the PS chair of the local association in Kotka, is a good example of the party’s double talk, or first I

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EU Commissioner for Human Rights: Protection against discrimination should be strengthened in Finland

  This is a statement by the EU Commissioner for Human Rights: Strasbourg, 25/9/2012 – “The Finnish Government has started a timely reform of the national equal treatment legislation. It is now crucial to ensure accessibility of the protection framework to all victims of discrimination and avoid unnecessary fragmentation of equality bodies” said today Nils

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Perussuomalaiset candidate: Kill the prime minister, finance minister and boil Muslims alive

What is more serious: encouraging people to kill the prime minister and finance minister of your country or suggesting that Muslims should be boiled alive? The police are presently investigating whether to launch an inquiry against Perussuomalaiset (PS) Kotka municipal election candidate Amon Rautiainen, reports YLE in English.  Rautiainen has publicly apologized for what he wrote on

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YLE in English: Three Afghani asylum seekers continue hunger strike

Three Afghani asylum seekers been on hunger strike since September 10 after their applications for asylum were rejected by the authorities, writes YLE in English. The three asylum seekers have appealed  the Finnish Immigration Service decision to the administrative court.  One of the asylum seekers, Abdullahi Gulamesdiq, said that he fears for his life in

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YLE poll: PS seen as big winner of the Finnish municipal elections

YLE’s latest poll published Thursday shows the Perussuomalaiset  (PS) Party will be the biggest winner of the October 29 municipal elections. The poll sees the PS getting 17.2% of the votes versus 5.4% in 2008. The poll predicts the Center Party as the biggest loser of the election with 15.9% versus 20.1%. The National Coalition

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How offensive is “Innocence of Muslims?”

A few scenes from Innocence of Muslims was enough for me to understand that free speech not only gives you the opportunity to make a horse’s ass out of yourself, but declare war on a religious group that ended costing the lives of USAmerican citizens in Libya.   The stance of the Finnish Islamic Council (SINE) concerning

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Journalistiliitto: Maahanmuutto, media ja monikulttuurisuus -seminaari 12.10.2012

Aika: 12.10.2012 Paikka: Helsinki Osoite: Takniskan Salit, Eerikinkatu 2, 6.krs, 00100 Helsinki Miten uussuomalaiset journalistit työllistyvät suomalaiseen mediaan? Millaisia hankkeita on kehitetty ja mitä uutta on vireillä? Miten toimitusten pomot suhtautuvat monikulttuurisuuteen ja uussuomalaisten journalistien työllistämiseen? Maahanmuuttovirasto – edestä ja takaa! Näitäkin aiheita pohditaan SJL:n seminaarissa, jonka alustajiksi ovat tähän mennessä lupautuneet Polina Kopylova (Suomen

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Racism, Counterjihadism and neo-Nazism sit well with the PS

I thought I had heard some lame excuses from the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, but I was wrong. Risto Helin, a PS city council candidate for Vaasa, beat all those before him hands down. On his Facebook page, Helin is wearing a blood-and-honor t-shirt. He claims that it was purchased about ten years ago but didn’t

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An interesting blog that follows far-right candidates in Finland’s municipal elections

I bumped into a blog called Kunnollisvaalit 2012 (in Finnish), which aims to expose far-right candidates running for office in the Finnish municipal elections of October 28.  The blog cites 11 Perussuomalaiset, 2 Center Party and one Muutos 2011 candidates as “far right.” The blog aims to expose what these candidates are posting on the Internet. Kunnollisvaalit 2012

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How much further? A film about the lives of refugees in Greece

This documentary about refugees in Greece is a stark reminder of how Greek authorities and the European Union have turned their backs on asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. The answer is not higher border fences or fear-mongering by politicians, but finding proactive solutions that take into account the needs and human rights of these people.

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The Netherlands gives Geert Wilders the thumbs down

Voters in the Netherlands did not back Geert Wilders’ calls for the country to ditch the European Union, reports the BBC. Wilders, who has dominated Dutch politics for years, is known for his tough anti-Islam and now anti-EU stance. Among many of his provocative statements, the Dutch politician has equated the Koran with Hitler’s Mein

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Greece and its bad case of ethnic profiling and scapegoating

The Greek Police announced that 16,836 foreign nationals were brought for questioning  during the first month that Xenios Zeus was instigated, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). A staggering 80% of those brought in for questioning were legal residents. Only 2,144 held by the police didn’t have their residence permits in

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Anti-racism web sites in Finland

Migrant Tales was named as one of seven anti-racist web site in Finland, according to a thread by “Tutkija” on Vaasa Forum. While Counterjihadist and anti-immigration websites have sprung up like mushrooms in Finland, anti-racist forums are one answer to the message of hate of these latter sites.  The Perussuomalaiset party openly and indirectly supports  a

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What kind of a threat do Finland’s Counterjihadists pose?

It’s pretty clear that what goes up politically must eventually come down. Some groups, which have recently surged in popularity like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), could see their bubble burst quickly. While I wouldn’t count on anything like that happening anytime soon, it could be a totally different story for the hardline Counterjihadists of the party.   The

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Teach me that we are more alike than different…

 …teach me not to hate. Teach me the lie and shame of racism [because] it hurts all people. Teach me to learn from you and to learn about me…  Inspirational words from the Center for the Healing of Racism that should be the guiding light enshrined in our national curriculum for schools (opetussuunnitelma) concerning cultural diversity.

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How sincere is PS MP Immonen about Finnish Karelia?

Finnish Karelia, Salla, and Petsamo were territories ceded to the former Soviet Union after the Continuation War (1941-44).  Counterjihadist Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen sent a parliamentary question Friday asking the government to investigate whether Russia offered in 1991 then President Mauno Koivisto (1982-94) the possibility to buy back the ceded region. Koivisto, who was

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“After the immigrants, you’re next”

This chilling phrase that was written on flyers in a gay clubbing district of Athens, Greece, is only the tip of the iceberg concerning the ever-growing violence and intolerance spreading throughout Europe. Writes the Trumpet.com: “Masked men on motorbikes patrol the streets of Greece’s streets, attacking immigrants and driving off. Mobs armed with improvised weapons

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PS Counterjihadists: Live and die politically by the sword

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is at a crucial juncture concerning its strange-bedfellow relationship with Counterjihadist and populist radical right members. What kind of links do some members of the PS have with far-right groups like the Finnish Defense League (FDL)? The FDL is nothing more than a mouthpiece of the English Defense League, a violent

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Norwegian armed forces show cultural sensitivity

Since July 1, the Norweaign armed forces have relaxed rules for religious headgear, writes the Local, quoting daily Stavanger Afterbladed. It is now possible for Sikh soldiers to use turbans as well as for Jews to use skull-caps while serving in the Norwegian armed forces. Muslim women are permitted to wear a hijab with their

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Du Bois and Finland: “Your country”

I read an interesting blog entry on Racism Review about what W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963), sociologist, historian and civil rights activist, wrote* about blacks in the United States. His words still ring out today in light of the hostility we see today towards immigrants and visible minorities in many parts of Europe and the United

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Estonia’s GasTerm Eesti uses Auschwitz photo to promote gas company

Believe it or not, the Estonian gas company, GasTerm Eesti, published on August 23 on their website a photograph of the Auschwitz concentration camp, with the infamous inscription Arbeit macht frei, or work makes you free. The caption of the published photo read: “Gas heating – flexible, convenient, and effective.” GasTerm Eesti has removed the offensive

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When will parties like the PS start banning Islam in Finland?

Pär Norling, a leader of  the populist radical right Sweden Democrats of Bolnäs, located about 250km north of Stockholm,  demanded the following on Sveriges Teleivision (SVT): ”Ban Islam in Sweden and deport those who persist in believing in the religion.” When will we start to hear similar demands from politicians in Finland? One matter that

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Counterjihad Trojan Horse in Finland

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik cited five Finnish groups in his manifesto, 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence. These were the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, Suomen Sisu, Suomalaisuuden liitto, Suomen kansan sinivalkoiset and Vapaan Suomen liitto, according to a report by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO). Writes YLE in English: “Texts similar to the manifest

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Finland’s demographic landscape is changing (again)

Finland is presently in the midst of one of its biggest demographic changes in its history due to the rapid growth of its immigrant community. Our ever-growing cultural diversity as a nation has brought out the best in many of us but has encouraged some of us to throw in the towel on sanity.  Is

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The PS and the roosting chickens of intolerance

The fact that 19.1% of Finnish voters gave their support to an anti-immigration and anti-EU party in April 2011 speaks volumes about who we are as a society. Many things can be said about the Perussuomalaiset (PS) and their election victory, but one matter stands out for me: The chickens of intolerance have come home to

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Poll supports PS’ negative stand on immigration

What value does the following news story offer: Sixty percent of Finns support cutbacks on spending that is linked with international agreements such as development aid, immigration costs, and green-house gas emissions, according to Helsingin Sanomat, the country’s largest daily.  Matti Putkonen of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) Party said that the findings of the poll are “to

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Race and intelligence

A BBC documentary, Race and Intelligence, asks if there is a racial* pecking order where white people are more intelligent than blacks. It seems unbelievable that this question continues to be asked in the twenty-first century, according to Rageh Omar of the BBC.  One of the matters that has amazed me personally in Finland and

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Halla-aho takes another swipe at Finland’s Somali community

It’s pretty easy to note that one of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s dynamic duo, Jussi Halla-aho and James Hirvisaari, are raising the stakes as the municipal elections near on October 28. We recently heard Hirvisaari throwing low punches at homosexuals and today Halla-aho would be ready to stop giving protection to Somalis, who come from a

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Those who loathe you are your supporters

The biggest supporters of immigrants and visible minorities in Finland aren’t groups lobbying for their rights per se, but their enemies. Instead of tapping ourselves on the back for challenging a social ill like racism, we should thank Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini for exposing in this country bigotry and isolationism in the raw.  

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Savon Sanomat: Vain super kelpaa

Aivan kuten Tuhkimo, joka nukkui syvässä unessa ja odotti komean prinssin suudelmaa, Suomen maahanmuuttajavastaiset toivovat samanlaista kohtaloa, kun puhutaan uusista ulkomaalaisista asukkaista. Tavalliset ulkomaalaiset eivät heille kelpaa – ainoastaan supermaahanmuuttajat saisivat tulla maahamme. Voiko joku poliitikko tai poliittinen puolue vastustaa tai kokonaan kieltää maahanmuuttoa globalisoituneessa maailmassa? Onko tämä mahdollista, jos meidän taloudellinen hyvinvointimme on kokonaan

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PS MP James Hirvisaari does it again

Remember when Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari commented on Hommaforum, the unofficial PS website that spreads intolerance against minorities in Finland, that homosexuality is “a disability in sexual development?” The police have brought the case to the state prosecutor, who will decide whether to bring charges against the PS MP, according to Helsingin Sanomat. Criminal

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Black and white Marshal Mannerheim

Tabloids such as Iltalehti and blog forums like Uusi Suomi have raised passions to fever pitch due to a new movie about Marshal Carl Mannerheim (1867-1951). The issue that they are heatedly debating and questioning is why Finland’s most famous military figure is being played in a movie by a black man from Kenya?  The producer

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Helena Eronen, the one that wrote about sleeve badges, resigns

Helena Eronen announced Monday on Uusi Suomi her resignation as Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari’s aide. Eronen suggested in a controversial  blog entry in April that foreigners should start wearing sleeve badges to help police hunt criminals. Even if Eronen claimed that her controversial blog entry was satire and not intended to insult anyone, it did

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Pasta macaroni: a 1-2-euro meal in Finland

Asylum seekers and immigrants are very resourceful people when it comes to stretching their small allowances. Pasta macaroni is a common meal among some immigrants and doesn’t cost very much to make. You can feed yourself for only 1-2 euros.  Taking into account the high cost of living and low allowances that asylum seekers and

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Exceptional Finns with immigrant backgrounds

Some Exceptional Finns with so-called immigrant backgrounds are Husein Muhammed, Nasima Razmyar, Arman Alizad, Tino Singh, Abdirahim Husu Hussein and Ali Jahangiri. All of them have one thing in common: They are exceptions to the stereotype but have immigrant backgrounds.   But how can you call a person who has lived most of his or her life in

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Will JSN react to the A-Studio program on rape convictions?

I have sent a complaint to the  Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN) concerning the A-Studio program that gave, in my opinion, a one-sided view of a problem that has an impact on all immigrants living in Finland. A-Studio claimed that a quarter of all rape convictions in Finland during the first five months of the year

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How rape statistics reveal a serious problem: racism and prejudice

You know there is something fishy whenever any person starts to use percentages to drive home the point that immigrants are rapists. If anything, rape statistics do reveal a problem: racism and prejudice.  One blogger on Uusi Suomi writes: ”In April, Finns were told that men from xxxx  are guilty of committing rape alarmingly often.”

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Why isn’t anyone labeling Estonians?

If I belonged to a certain anti-immigration party in Finland, how would I use the following information to score brownie points with the voters: 700 out of 1,200 suspected drunk-driving cases in Finland are by Estonian nationals, according to tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. Even if such a high number of Estonians were caught driving under the influence

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Massive Greek police clampdown on immigrants

Cash-strapped Greece showed its dark side over the weekend when some 2,000 police in Athens and surroundings arrested 1,100 undocumented immigrants and held another 4,900 for questioning, according to Clandestina blog. The action is a disturbing example of how the Greek government is trying to blame immigrants for the country’s financial problems.   It is

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Finnish youths with immigrant backgrounds are the new underclass

A new map published by Statistics Finland shows the percentage of marginalized youths (15-29 yrs) by regions. It not only shows a growing problem in this country, but an especially serious one among youths with immigrant backgrounds, who have a much higher chance of being marginalized than white Finns. A marginalized youth is anyone who

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Using rape statistics to fuel ethnic prejudism and racism

This week’s A-Studio report on the ”high” number of rape convictions of foreigners in Finland, and another one published by Tampere-based daily Aamulehti in April, not only shed light on “a problem” in Finland but expose the prejudice of the media and Finnish society concerning immigrants. The exact arguments that the above-mentioned stories use to

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A-Studio’s immigrant rape report: A prejudiced storm in a tea cup

An A-Studio report on the “high” amount of rape convictions of foreigners in Finland is not only another unfortunate example of arbitrary reporting by the Finnish media, but reinforces the perception of how hate groups in this country use crime statistics against immigrants.   Migrant Tales encountered another similar story about foreign rape cases in April

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PS MP shows more ”tolerant” side to Helsingin Sanomat concerning homosexuality

Contrary to what James Hirvisaari commented on the Hommaforum website, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP gave a more “tolerant” view on Helsingin Sanomat concerning his statement that homosexuality is “a sexual developmental disability.”   Hirvisaari said that even a disabled people like homosexuals need to accept themselves for what they are, he emphasized that  homosexuality or

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Finnish anti-immigration party MP claims homosexuality to be a “disability in sexual development”

In light of the municipal elections of October 28 and the Perussuomalaliset (PS) party’s poll standings, it’s no surprise that MPs of the right-wing populist party like James Hirvisaari are leading the charge against different minorities in Finland. In a comment on Hommaforum, the PS MP considered homosexuality to be “a disability in sexual development.”*  Hommaforum

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Racist graffiti appears (again) in an eastern Finnish city

It was only in 2010 when Kansainvälinen Mikkeli (International Mikkeli) brought to the city’s attention racist graffiti. To the association’s surprise, the graffiti had been on the walls of the Kattilansilta School and an underpass for over six months. Nobody, never mind the city, appeared to care too much about them.   While this type of

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PBS documentary: U.S. Border Patrol, an example we should avoid

When I grew up in Southern California, the object of racist insults weren’t only blacks but especially Mexicans. Even if there were no Mexicans never mind blacks at our elementary school in Hollywood, some students – if not all – had very strong prejudices against them.  An investigative documentary by PBS shows that not only

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Suomi on väkivaltainen maa

Onko Suomi väkivaltainen maa? Vastaus riippuu siitä kuka olet: valkoinen suomalainen, mies, nainen, maahanmuuttaja, näkyvään vähemmistöön kuuluva tai vammainen. Ennen kuin perustelen väitteeni, haluan tehdä muutamia selvennyksiä Susanna Kinnusen blogiin. Olen ”pieni vihainen mies.”  Uskon, että ne, jotka tuntevat minut  henkilökohtaisesti olisivat aika paljon erimieltä.  Harrastin paljon mm.  koripalloa ja tunnetusti pelaajat ovat hyvinkin kookkaita

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James and Jussi out of control

As the municipal elections of October near, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MPs, James Hirvisaari and Jussi Halla-aho, are doing everything possible to bolster the sagging popularity of the right-wing populist party. It’s unclear, however, if they are attempting to stir up support for the Suomen Sisu wing of the party or for the PS. In their usual style,

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Sweden convicts Peter Mangs for Malmö immigrant murders

A Malmö District Court convicted Peter Mangs, 40, of two counts of murder and four attempted murders, according to the Guardian. The man, who is a Swede of Finnish descent, killed his first victim in 2003 and terrorized Malmö during 2009-10. All of his victims were immigrants. Mangs will undergo psychiatric evaluation before his sentencing

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Espoo-Leppävaara young man sentenced six years for manslaughter

An Espoo District Court sentenced Monday an eighteen-year-old man for six years in jail for the manslaughter of Abdisalam Mohamed Abulah, 18.  The father of the victim, Mursal Abdulah, told Migrant Tales that he will appeal the decision.  Abdulah is one of three victims who lost his life in a span of about three weeks in January-February.

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What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7?

What goes around comes around. Exactly a year ago Anders Breivik carried out his mass killings, which ended up causing the death of 77 innocent victims. Have we learned anything from that tragic Saturday that shook the Nordic region and changed it permanently? In order to answer that question, we’d have to travel back in time

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Migrant Tales (July 25, 2011): Living in post-22/7 Europe

It is ironic that those right-wing populist and far-right parties that have gone out of their way to warn us about the threat of multiculturalism and religions like Islam have become the threat and Trojan Horses in our societies. In one horrific blow, Anders Behring Breivik did not only strike at Norway’s liberal democracy, but

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Somali-Finn Abdulah: Living in no-man’s land (Part 2)

When Abdulah*, 30, talks to you about his twenty-two years in Finland, one of the first questions that arises is how has so much suffering escaped our attention. For Abdulah, acceptance isn’t only virtually impossible from white Finns, but can be  just as hard to get from the Somali community.   “I have decided to

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Pepper spay attack against gay-pride event in Oulu, Finland

What kind of worlds live inside the heads of people who make political statements by attacking an event like North Pride, a sexual-diversity festival organized through Sunday in the northern Finnish city of Oulu?   Writes YLE in English: “A discussion event in Oulu on the situation of gay asylum seekers was the target of

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What happens when you dilute a term like racism?

Ignorance is a crucial factor that still holds Finland back from tackling effectively a social ill like racism. If it’s not seen as an issue, very little will be done to challenge it.  Add to the latter the fact that even some of our elected representatives in parliament don’t know the difference between racism and

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Kysymys vailla vastausta: keitä ovat perussuomalaiset?

Yksi mielenkiintoinen kysymys joka nousi esiin perussuomalaisista viime vuoden historiallisen vaalivoiton jälkeen oli keitä he ovat? Yli vuosi vaaleista ja kysymys on yhä  vailla vastausta: keitä he perussuomalaiset ovat?    Jos esitämme kysymyksen suoraan perussuomalaisille, vastaus saattaa olla yhtä sekava ja ristiriitainen kuin puolue itse. Riippumatta puolueen jäsenistön monimuotoisesta ideologisesta taustasta, voidaan kysyä kuinka on

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A question begs an answer: Who are the Perussuomalaiset?

The million-dollar question after the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s historic election victory was what kind of party had entered the Finnish political stage. After over a year in parliament and numerous scandals that have rocked the PS, a question still begs an answer: Who are they? If you seek an answer directly from the party, the response

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Finnish men assault elderly Somali woman (Part 2)

By Roble Bashir and Enrique Tessieri Migrant Tales met on Thursday the elderly Somali woman who was assaulted in April by Finnish men at Helsinki’s Myllypuro metro station. This is part two of the interview with Abdulle Korad Musse, 63. For the elderly Somali woman, who speaks to us with the help of an interpreter, racism is a

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Finnish men assault elderly Somali woman (Part I)

By Roble Bashir and Enrique Tessieri Migrant Tales met on Thursday the elderly Somali woman who was attacked by a group of Finns in April at Helsinki’s Myllypuro metro station. The woman, Abdulle Korad Musse, 63, was taken to hospital by ambulance after she was physically assaulted.   Musse, who speaks to us with the help of an interpreter,

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Business Insider: Timo Soini’s “threat” to the world economy

Not only must have Perussuomalaiset (PS) party chairman Timo Soini been swept off his feet with delight for being named by Business Insider  as the seventh-most dangerous person to the global economy, but Finland as well for such a dubious recognition. Who ever heard of Business Insider anyway? For starters, somebody could inform the online publication that the official

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Finland’s and Japan’s demographic and economic decline

You don’t have to be an expert to understand that Europe and especially Finland are speeding towards a demographic and economic decline of untold proportions. The calamity we face will not come from outside our borders per se but will have the “Made in Finland” label on it.   There’s an interesting story on the

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Monikulttuurisuus ei ole poliittinen ideologia

Monikulttuurisuus on monimuotoinen ja monimutkainen käsite. Maahanmuutonvastustajille se on yksinkertaisesti siirtolaispolitiikka, joka mahdollistaa etupäässä muslimien, afrikkalaisten sekä ei-eurooppalaisten asumisen Suomessa tai Euroopassa. Tavoite on yksinkertainen: pitää Suomi valkoisena ja muuttumattomana. Kansanedustaja James Hirvisaari (ps) viimeisessä bloigissaan antaa tyypillisen maahanmuutonvastustajaan selityksen siitä, mikä on monikulttuurisuus. Hirvisaari väittää, että monikulttuurisuus on poliittinen ideologia. Mutta onko se niin?

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Marta Gómez: The little boy who wanted to be white

Marta Gómez is a talented singer from Colombia who offers us a song called “Negrito,” or “(cute) little black boy.” In most parts of Latin America, it’s perfectly fine to call a person negrito, the diminutive of the word negro. The song by Gómez is based on a real negrito of her hometown of Cali, who

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The absurdity of the reverse-racism argument in Finland

Every now and then you’ll hear a visitor on Migrant Tales claim: What about [reverse] racism against [white] Finns!? Racism is a complex problem but one matter singles it out: It is an effective tool to socially exclude, control and exploit other groups in society from vital resources such as jobs and economic wealth.  The

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Dear Finland, as the heat of summer draws…

Dear Finland, As the heat of summer draws attention to your ever-changing sub-arctic beauty, you may have wondered why Migrant Tales has become a voice of the immigrant and visible minority community in Finland. We are always humbled by your presence on our blog. In truth, we are nothing more than a new confident image

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How many types of racists are there in Finland?

I read an interesting blog entry by Julian Abagond that highlights three types of racists in the United States: white bigots, white implicit racists and whites with integrity. How many types of racists are there in Finland?  When studying racism in this country or in other parts of Europe, denial is the most incriminating evidence

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How to challenge a social ill like racism in Finland

The rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in last year’s elections is not the most incriminating proof that racism is an issue in this country, but official denials that such a problem exists at all in Finland. What must we do as a society to effectively challenge such a social ill? Denials

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Far-right violence spreads across Europe – what about Finland?

As the euro financial crisis deepens so does the rise of far-right violence across Europe, according to a report by the Institute of Race Relations. Finland stands out as one of the 100 cases documented by the report. It states that academics studying immigration in this country are forced to withdraw from public discussion rather

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Migrant Tales March 15, 2012: Finland’s darkest period 2011-15

In the future, when Finnish historians of different ethnic backgrounds look at the present parliamentary term 2011-15,  they will most likely conclude that it was the darkest period for Finland and immigrants in the new century.  A prelude to this sombre period were  the municipal election of 2008 and how it reflected a shift in

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Suomalaisia ei saa syrjiä (mutta toisia ryhmiä saa?)

Kansanedustaja Reijo Tossavaisen viimeisin blogi kirjoitus, Suomalaisia ei saa syrjiä, on hyvä esimerkki siitä mitä on pahasti vialla perussuomalaisissa ja kuinka suppea ja syrjivä on heidän käsitys suomalaisuudesta.  Tossavaisen tieto Suomen historiasta on hyvin valikoiva. Hän puhuu kuinka karjalaiset sijoitettiin Suomeen jatkosodan jälkeen toista kertaa. Ruusuisesta kuvasta huolimatta, karjalaisten vastanotto oli monesti vihamielinen. Samaa suhtautuminen nähdään

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Abagond: Kumbaya anti-racism

I dedicate Abagond’s most recent blog entry to the Finnish media. Comment:  I met a journalist from a local paper and we spoke about racism in Finland. He said that the daily had a policy of not reporting too many racism cases in the city because it would be acknowledging the problem.  The reasoning behind the

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Office of the Prosecutor General will not take action against Eronen’s blog entry on “armbands”

The Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) will not take any action against Helena Eronen concerning a blog entry she published in April suggesting that immigrants should start wearing armbands to help police track down suspected criminals, according to Helsingin Sanomat. While no charges will be brought against Perussuomalaiset (PS)  MP James Hirvisaari’s aide, it

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Pro-Soini Pirkko Mattila to chair administration committee of parliament

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s parliamentary group chose Tuesday Pirkko Mattila to be the new chairwoman of the administration committee after PS MP Jussi Halla-aho was forced to resign last week.  The PS MP from the northern Finnish town of Muhos got 25 votes, clearly beating challengers Juho Eerola and Ismo Soukola, who got 5 votes apiece, according

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Finnish Supreme Court upholds hate speech conviction against Hirvisaari

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not grant Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari permission to appeal a conviction for hate speech handed down in December by the Kouvola Court of Appeal, reports Helsingin Sanomat.  Last week, the PS suffered another blow when its MP Jussi Halla-aho was forced to resign as chairman of the administration

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The wrong Finnish identity for all the wrong reasons

In many respects, Finland is a fortunate country when it comes to a social construct like national identity. We are still a young nation actively searching for our roots. We have learned many things about ourselves as a society thanks to the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS). One of the matters

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The scars of ethnic profiling

How serious is ethnic profiling in Finland? Denials that it doesn’t occur at all by the police suggest that it may be a much wider problem than believed. The Ombudsman for Minorities has received a number of complaints from immigrants and visible minorities claiming to be victims of ethnic profiling.  Statements in April by Christian

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Halla-aho scandal in Finland: Leadership is now needed more than ever

Finland’s political parties,  including the Perussuomalaiset (PS), have a golden opportunity to show leadership and make a clear break from Jussi Halla-aho and his Suomen Sisu association followers. We’ll be back, however, to square one if Halla-aho’s heir-apparent, Juho Eerola, becomes the new chairman of the administration committee of parliament.  Suomen Sisu is an extremist

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Halla-aho wants Juho Eerola to be his successor

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party never ceases to surprise us. Former administration committee chairman MP Jussi Halla-aho said he wants Juho Eerola to be his successor. The MP, who is second vice president of the PS, is Halla-aho’s close ideological ally and a member of the far-right Suomen Sisu association. Appointing Eerola as the new chairman

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Jussi Halla-aho resigns as chairman of the administration committee

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho announced that he will resign as chairman of the administration committee, according to Helsingin Sanomat in English.  The decision comes after the Supreme Court charged Halla-aho on Friday for defaming a religion and inciting ethnic hatred. A new chairman will be chosen by the committee on Tuesday. Halla-aho published a

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Cultural diversity in Finland: The high price of being too alike

As a writer and person with a multicultural background, I have been seeking to narrate a more inclusive and accurate history of Finland. Taking into account that over 1.2 million people emigrated from this country between 1860 and 1999 and our ever-growing immigrant population, aren’t both of these facts enough proof of our cultural diversity?

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The Halla-aho scandal raises disturbing questions

Disquieting questions emerge in light of the Jussi Halla-aho scandal: Is pressure on the Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP to resign as chairman of the administration committee due to his dismissive reaction to the Supreme Court sentence or because of what he wrote about Muslims and Somalis, which got him in trouble in the first place? When

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Finnish politicians should smell the coffee of far-right extremism

After over a year of following countless scandals, fines for hate speech, racism and exposures of their far-right ideology, a question begs an answer of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party: Who is Timo Soini?  If we asked Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, a social democrat, his answer would be moral weakness and opportunism. Tuomioja writes a day after

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Halla-aho gets convicted for defamation and inciting ethnic hatred

Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MP Jussi Halla-aho was convicted today by the Finnish Supreme Court  (KKO) for defaming a religion and inciting ethnic hatred. Halla-aho, who was fined in 2009 for defaming religion, was now criminally charged as well for inciting ethnic hatred.  The sentence dates back to Halla-aho’s blog writings of 2008, when he claimed

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Second-generation Finns: Revealing society’s ignorance and arrogance

If we look at the ongoing one-sided debate on immigration, immigrants and Finland’s ever-growing cultural diversity, one matter is for certain: It does not help dispel prejudices that encourage racism and social exclusion.  While I am certain that most Finns are willing to make immigration and cultural diversity work, it is a totally different question

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Finnish anti-immigration party seeks to ban begging

Three Perussuomalaiset (PS) MPs plan to present a bill to Parliament that would ban begging in public places, according to YLE in English.  The aim of the bill has nothing to do with helping the Roma, a group that has suffered persecution in Europe for centuries. Its main aim is to reap political points for an

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Prejudice discourages employers from hiring deaf people

I read an interesting news story on YLE in English about how prejudice hinders deaf people from getting jobs. Sounds like a familiar excuse heard commonly by immigrants, right?  The jobless rate of deaf workers and immigrants in Finland is about three times greater than the national average. Unemployment in Finland in April stood at

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Somali taxi driver assaulted in Helsinki

A Somali taxi driver was assaulted by two Finnish men on Thursday at 4:30am at the Helsinki Railway Station, according to a Migrant Tales reporter. The man was taken to hospital by ambulance with injuries to the lower jaw and chin. The two attackers were later apprehended by the police. The victim, who was second

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Blaming undocumented immigrants is sweeping the issue under the rug

The treatment of an ever-growing problem like undocumented immigrants in Finland by the media and politicians resembles a debate where nobody really wants to tackle the issue. Our attention too often shifts to the undocumented immigrant, who is seen as the culprit and root of the problem.  The ongoing  debate resembles discussing the reasons behind

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Syrjäytyneet Suomessa ja epäonnistumisen merkkiä

Meillä on hyvä yhteiskunta Suomessa mutta tämä väite tarvitsee toisen kysymyksen: kenelle? Kannustetaanko todella eri vähemmistöjen oikeuksia elää Suomessa tasavertaisena jäsenenä ja turvallisessa yhteiskunnassa?   Mielestäni kansanedustaja (ps) Reijo Tossavaisen viimeisin blogikirjoitus, Somalien kokemuksia tutkitaan 0,6 milj. eurolla, edustaa sitä Suomea, joka syrjii sanoin toisia. Tossavainen väittää blogikirjoituksessa, että Suomen Akatemian tutkimushanke somaleista on turhaa, koska

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OAJ union: Teachers (and immigrants) should report hate speech and harassment cases to the police

Finland’s Trade Union of Education (OAJ) recommends that teachers should file a complaint to the police if they are victims of  hate speech or harassment at school, reports Helsingin Sanomat, citing Finnish News Agency (STT). Should immigrants and visible minorities follow OAJ’s example if they are victims of racist harassment in public? Migrant Tales reported last

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Finland’s mini Breivik: gunman kills two and wounds seven

What motivates a young man to take the law in his own hands and kill indiscriminately defenseless people? While we still don’t know the motives behind the killings in Hyvinkää, the suspect’s “likes” on Facebook may offer us some clues.  Writes YLE in English: ”Police in the town of Hyvinkää, some 50km north of Helsinki, say

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Finland’s future recipe for success is based on social equality, mutual acceptance, respect and equal opportunities

Why would any political party seriously care about immigrants and their children if these newcomers form part of a fragmented group that has little political and economic power? Should they be concerned about high unemployment and ever-growing social inequality among such groups in Finland?  Our success story as a society was never based on social

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Amnesty International Annual Report 2012 criticizes Finland for accelerated asylum procedures

Amnesty International (AI) has criticized Finland in its Annual Report 2012 for accelerated asylum procedures, which include forced returns to Baghdad, according to YLE.  The report noted as well that Finland was unable to provide figures on how many irregular migrants and asylum-seekers it detained during the year. AI reports: “However, there were concerns that

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PS MP Olli Immonen plans to boycott YLE “for a short while”

By Enrique Tessieri Far-right anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP, Olli Immonen, said Monday he will boycott YLE “for a short while” since the state-owned radio and television company reports unfairly about the PS.  According to him, there is a systematic propaganda campaign against the PS by YLE I doubt that many will lose sleep over Immonen’s

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Xenoholism is a behavioral disorder caused by foreigners

Have you noticed how some people get violent and turn into Mr. Hydes from Dr. Jekylls whenever they start speaking about other ethnic or religious groups? Could we call those that suffer from such split personality disorders xenoholics? Xeno derives from Latin meaning “foreigner” or “outsider.” Thus a xenoholic is any person who suffers from

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Julkisen sanan neuvoston päätös oli voitto sanavapaudelle

Enrique Tessieri Julkisen sanan neuvoston (JSN) vapauttava päätös Kirkko ja kaupungin lehdelle oli mielestäni voitto sana- sekä lehdistövapaudelle Suomessa. Miten on mahdollista, että yksi maamme suurimmista poliittista puolueesta kehtaa alkaa vaikuttamaan sekä rajoittamaan lehdistövapautta maassamme? Mielestäni tämä on juuri se tärkein kysymys koko JSN:n päätöksessä. Neuvoston mukaan pilapiirroksista on tullut erittäin vähän kanteluita sen olemassaoloaikana

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JSN exonerates Kirkko & Kaupunki cartoon that mocks PS MPs

By Enrique Tessieri  The Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN) has exonerated  Kirkko&Kaupunki after a cartoon was published on December 14 mocking a group of Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MPs telling everyone who wasn’t a Finnish heterosexual and white conservative to leave Finland. The JSN said in a statement that Ville Ranta’s cartoon was neither

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Lieksa, Finland, continues to be a thorn in Pohjois-Karjala’s side

Lieksa is a troubled city in the eastern Finnish region of Pohjois-Karjala. We have read too many stories on Migrant Tales and the Finnish media about the racism that has struck the city after some 250 immigrants mostly from Somalia moved there. Joensuu-based Karjalainen reported Monday that an immigrant’s car had been vandalized on Sunday

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Ilta-Sanomat billboard (lööppi) from February 5, 1997

Migrant Tales publishes on and off Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through some of the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic, prejudiced, racist or anti-Russian views.

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YLE’S Spotlight: Finland’s PS links to the Finnish Defense League

How are we supposed to react to the following news: A number of Perussuomalaiset (PS) party membersbelong to the far-right and anti-Islam Finnish Defense League (FDL)? The story, which was scooped by Yle’s Swedish-language program Spotlight adds that these PS members with ties to the FDL belong as well to the extremist Suomen Sisu association.

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Ilta-Sanomat billboard (lööppi) from August 7, 1996

Migrant Tales publishes on and off Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through some of the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic, prejudiced, racist or anti-Russian views.

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Lieksa, Finland, again in the news about the r-problem

Even if the troubled city of Lieksa is taking bold steps forward in its fight against racism, it ends up taking some giant leaps back. A social worker, Soile Syrjäläinen and her department have been the victims of harassment by some townsfolk. On Friday she got a bomb threat as well as being harassed on a daily basis. She even got spat at by a client, according to Joensuu-based daily Karjalainen.

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Abdisalam Mohamed Abdulah: Returning to Finland’s Black February

Remember Dark February? In about three weeks we read about the deaths of three Muslims , a suicide and a Perussuomalaiset (PS) councilman who offered to decorate a white Finn for killing in cold blood one of these victims? Migrant Tales had the opportunity to meet Monday the father and a family friend of one of the victims, Abdisalam Mohamed Abdulahi.