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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Migrant Tales (July 21, 2012): 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 live

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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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Sikh bus driver in Finland plans to take employer to court over landmark turban case

Busman Gill Sukhdarshan Singh told Migrant Tales that he plans to take his employer to court if no decision is reached with the Veolia bus company concerning a turban ban at work after the the Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency (Avi) makes a new ruling on the matter in about a week and a half. 

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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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Isolationism, petty provincialism and nationalism: social ills with far-reaching consequences

In the backdrop of Finland’s independence day celebrations Friday and as the world mourns Nelson Mandela’s death yesterday, our country is at a major crossroads contesting whether it wants to be a closed or open society. The historic victory of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party in 2011 is one example how this country has taken a perilous

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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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Sweden is right, Finland wrong in its strategy against anti-immigration parties

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt reiterated to Helsingin Sanomat the government’s plans to isolate Sweden Democrats despite the latest polls in Sweden, which show the anti-EU and anti-immigration party making gains. Even if the Sweden Democrats have tried break free from their neo-Nazi and racist image, the party led by Jimmie Åkesson has suffered a number

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Immigrants and their associations should speak out more against exploitation

In the struggle that immigrants and members of the visible minority community in Finland, it’s important that we have a voice and speak out against exploitation and attitudes that promote intolerance.  Read full story (in Finnish) here. Migrant Tales wrote recently about Abdi Osman, a naturalized Finn who came to this country fifteen years ago

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Beating intolerance at its own game requires a reaction, leadership and a voice

Beating intolerance at its own game is easier than you think. There are many good examples in Finland, like International Mikkeli Day (IMD), where people from a grass-root level take action and seek solutions. Since intolerance and racism are based on lies and generous quantities of ideological fools gold, truth is the light that exposes

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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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The PS are now hoping that Kouvola stops receiving asylum seekers and quota refugees by 2016

If you believe that the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party has toned down its xenophobia and loathing towards refugees, check out what they are doing in the municipality of Kouvola. According to the local daily, Kouvolan Sanomat, the PS wants the city council to stop receiving asylum seekers and quota refugees by 2016.  While the PS blame

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Is your attitude towards racism determined by your upbringing and where you grew up?

Some immigrants and visible minorities fight against intolerance their own way. Others, however, shy away from such a challenge by preferring to live in denial. Is the way you fight against intolerance dependent on what you learned at home and in your home country?  If a white Russian learned to hate blacks and Muslims in his society,

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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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Finnish bus company continues to prohibit Sikh employee from wearing a turban

Migrant Tales reported in September a landmark case in which a Sikh busman could wear a turban while at work. Helsingin Sanomat reported Thursday, however, that matters didn’t turn the way that the Vantaa Sikh busman, Gill Sukhdarshan Singh, thought. According to Helsingin Sanomat,  the Sikh busman is still not allowed to wear a turban at work. Migrant

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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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Migrant Tales investigative reporting: Finland’s banks fuel social exclusion of some immigrants

Hostility doesn’t always mean that you get pushed around and attacked physically. Hostility can appear near-invisibly as well without laying a finger on you. Social exclusion is a form of aggression that can be fueled by denying you basic rights like opening a bank account, getting life insurance or a mobile phone line.  Nordea is the

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Time has shown us that our anti-racism efforts in Finland haven’t been in vain

It was only a few years ago when Migrant Tales was openly challenged by some for speaking out against racism in Finland. According to the more hostile commentators that posted on our site back then, racism didn’t exist in this country. If it existed, it was minor and exceptional. Even after the anti-immigration and anti-EU

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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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Lieksa town secretary caves in to PS demands for “Somali-free” meeting room

An earlier story, which claimed that a Perussuomalaiset (PS) Lieksa town council leader doesn’t want to be in the same room where a Somali group meets once a month, has been corrected by Karjalainen, a Joensuu-based daily. It is not the PS town council leader, Esko Saastamoninen, making such a demand but the PS councilpersons

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PS leader of Lieksa, Finland, refuses to be in the same room where Somalis meet

Taking into account all the problems and positive solutions that have been found in the town of Lieksa in the region of South Karelia concerning its over 200-strong Somali community, it is disturbing that a city councilmen like Esko Saastamoinen, Perussuomalaiset (PS) town council leader, states he doesn’t want to be in the same room

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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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Man who attacked a Lutheran Church Tuesday “is sorry for what he did and understands his mistake”

What happened on Tuesday, when a white ethnic Finn dressed like a Muslim that vandalized a Lutheran church in Helsinki, is one of the strangest stories I have written but with a good ending. All of this happened when YLE was airing the A2 Islam debate on television. Vicar Timo Pekka Kaskinen of the Rouhivuoren Congregation spoke to

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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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Columnist Eric Erfors of Sweden’s Expressen: What do Halla-aho and Räsänen say about the state of Finland today?

Finland needs every now and then a wake-up call from the outside world. Columnist Eric Erfors of the Swedish tabloid Expressen, asks how is it possible that a person like Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho, which he calls a ”pure racist,” was eligible to become a deputy member of Finland’s delegation to the Council of

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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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Headlines that raise questions and reveal a lot about our attitudes of other cultures

If one wants to start a humorous blog in Finland, just check out the headlines that dailies use sometimes to write about immigrants and refugees. True, some of them aren’t funny at all because they are hostile and ostracize specific groups.     Read full story here. Here’s one headline I read on Monday’s Helsingin

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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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Red herrings, code words that help sanitize and make more acceptable our intolerance

Even if I have written for years about Finland’s anti-immigration groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), you have to learn to detect the red herrings in order to understand their real views on the topic. What you may uncover behind these red herrings is far scarier than ever imagined.  A red herring is “something intended to

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Dana: Why doesn’t President Sauli Niinistö care about immigrants? What’s his stand on racism?

Dana Finland is a small country but a very proud one about its political and legal system. Some Finns believe they are, however, so different from other people on this planet and they can’t explain why. For example…in Finland the law functions like magic; they believe that the law is so comprehensive that no-one in

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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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Migrants’ life in Finland: Some endure intolerance better than others – some hit back, others don’t

The ocean is a desert, with it’s life underground And a perfect disguise above. Under the cities lies, a heart made of ground, But the human will give no love. A Horse with No name, America Intolerance, bigotry, racism, prejudice and a list of other social ills strike their victims in different ways. Some of

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Cultural diversity is unstoppable – it exposes Finland’s white privilege and intolerance

A Silminnäkijä television program exposed Thursday something we all knew: how you are treated in Finland depends on the color of your skin and ethnic-national background. Should this surprise us? What is more incredible? Is it the indifference of the police, bouncers and near-silence of society as people are openly discriminated right before our very

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The ogre of racism in Finland is learning how to wear a three-piece suit and tie

Matters appear to have changed after the April 2011 election, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) rose from relative obscurity to become the third-largest party in parliament. The well-known scandals and publicized vicious attacks by the racists of the PS against immigrants and visible minorities appear to have changed their tune.   Apart from the row that

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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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Zuzeeko’s blog: Finland’s population registry website excludes visible minorities

Zuzeeko Tegha Abeng* Finland is still very much a racially homogeneous country — predominantly made up of white Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking people. The homogeneous nature of the population is reflected in most walks of life in the country where people of African descent or visible minorities are not represented or are relegated to the background.

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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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Is it ok to be a closet fascist, Nazi and racist in the PS after the Hirvisaari scandal?

In an A-studio talk show Monday, Perussuomalaiset (PS) third vice-president, Juho Eerola, was asked what was the underlying message of MP James Hirvisaari’s expulsion to members of the party. The PS MP said that “playing with issues like National Socialism and misanthropy” are unacceptable in the PS. The person making such a claim, Eerola, wrote

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Why does the Finnish media give so much attention to anti-immigration politicians and parties?

I was invited on Tuesday to speak at a seminar on immigration* for YLE journalists. One of the questions I asked was why do Finnish journalists give so much space and attention to far-right anti-immigration politicians? Why do some give racists inflated respectability and importance? A recent story about Finland accepting 500 refugees from war-torn Syria

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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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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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PS MPs like Juho Eerola don’t know how closed Finland used to be to the outside world

 Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Juho Eerola wrote in 2010 that he was attracted to Benito Mussolini’s fascism. He argues that it is a model that we could learn a lot from. Such a statement not only shows his fascist political credentials, but his ignorance of Finnish history. The Restricting Act of 1939 (law 219/1939), which was

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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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Why did a Finnish court absolve two policemen of apparent racist conduct?

When reporting some stories, denials and what is not said are the spotlights that reveal the real story. A flat denial by the police that ethnic profiling doesn’t occur suggests that it is probably more widespread than we think. A court ruled on Monday that the actions of two Helsinki policemen, who used excessive physical

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Thai berry pickers shed light on a much wider problem in Finland for immigrants

The fifty Thai berry pickers, who are protesting against long hours, poor pay and huge risks they take when working for Ber-Ex, not only shed light on their plight but the poor job security that immigrants generally face in Finland.  While berry pickers are seasonal workers that come from Thailand, their issues reveal a much serious

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Landmark decision in Finland: On September 29, 2013 Sikh busman can wear turban at work

Busman Gill Sukhdarshan Singh told Migrant Tales that his employer, Veolia Transport of Vantaa, has agreed to allow him to wear a turban at work from Sunday, September 29. The Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency, which ruled in June that a turban ban by the employer was discriminatory, gave the bus company until the end

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YLE in English: Finnish Sports Federation apologizes after 75 years to a Finnish-Jewish runner

As Finland races into the depths of the new century and distances itself from the Winter (1939-40) and especially from the Continuation War (1941-44), I’m certain that there will be more proof about our collusion with Nazi Germany. One such story appeared Friday, when YLE in English reported on the Finnish Sports Federation’s (SUL) apology

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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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Former Perussuomalaiset councilman convicted for ethnic agitation shows no remorse

Who can forget Black February 2012, when three Muslims lost their lives in a span of about three weeks in January-February? The last one, which was horrific, ended with the cold-blooded killing of a Muslim at a pizzeria in Oulu. A former Perussuomlaiset (PS) councilman wrote on Facebook that a medal should be awarded to

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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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YLE in English: Lifting visa requirements from Russians would create thousands of jobs

This has got to be one of the strangest stories I’ve read on YLE in English. It claims that lifting visa requirements for Russians would create thousands of job in Finland. Is xenophobia so ingrained in some Finns that they still think that foreigners and Russians are such a threat that they don’t grasp that tourism, never

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Susanna Koski: “The Youth League of the National Coalition Party has zero tolerance to racism”

Susanna Koski is quoted as saying on Helsingin Sanomat that the Youth League of the National Coalition Party that she is president of has zero tolerance to racism. “We don’t accept racism in any form or shape,” she said.   Read original story (in Finnish) here. Right, Koski, you don’t tolerate racism but want to

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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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Susanna Koski and the National Coalition Party’s youth wing: The language of barbarians

The more I think about the proposals put forth by the president of the Youth League of the National Coalition Party, Susanna Koski, the more I wonder where this country is heading. Would her suggestion to scrap the Ombudsman for Minorities and laws that govern ethnic agitation constitute barbarism? Even if barbarians are considered “uncivilized,”

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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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Youth League of the National Coalition Party sees no evil in hate speech

The president of the Youth League of the National Coalition Party, Susanna Koski, surprised even members of her party Monday by proposing, among a long list of other things, that the Ombudsman for Minorities office should be scrapped together with the quota refugee program and ethnic agitation law.  The proposals for 2014 by the National

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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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Internal security secretariat head: Many racist crimes go unreported in Finland

Some migrants may not report a racist crime in Finland because of mistrust of the police, poor Finnish-language skills and ignorance of one’s rights, according to Tarja Mankkinen, director of the ministry of the interior’s internal security secretariat.  The Police College of Finland reported 918 suspected hate crimes in 2011, which is a 7% rise from

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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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Supreme Court upholds PS city councilman’s conviction for ethnic agitation

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will not grant Perussuomalaiset (PS) Kotka City Councilman Freddy van Wonterghem the right to appeal a conviction for ethnic agitation in February by the Kouvola appeals court, reports YLE. The ruling is similar to a lower court ruling on PS MP James Hirvisaari’s hate speech conviction in June 2012. 

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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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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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Let’s play fill in the blanks with far-right Finnish MP Teuvo Hakkarainen

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Teuvo Hakkarainen attacked immigrants and Muslims in a latest blog entry, where he accuses them of living off social welfare and Muslims of taking over Europe. In order to understand how ludicrous and racist the PS MP’s arguments are, Migrant Tales will play “fill in the blanks.” Migrant Tales has “played” fill

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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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Anti-immigration forces in Finland loathe cultural diversity in order to defend white privilege

Paavo Arhinmäki, head of the Left Alliance, was quoted as saying in Joensuu that Finland has never been a “monocultural” country. This is true but how many Finnish politicians understand never mind speak out and defend multiculturalism or cultural diversity? Unfortunately, too few.   The fact that too few politicians have the courage to speak

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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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Direct initiative to demote Swedish language at schools stands slim chance of approval

What are we to think about a direct initiative that got over 50,000 signatures today to demote Finland’s second official language to elective status at schools? While this initiative stands a slim chance of passing in parliament, it shows how intolerance has raised its head in Finland recently. Even if those that are lobbying against

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Switzerland restricts the movement of asylum seekers in the town of Bremgarten

The Swiss town of Bremgarten, located about 16km from Zurich, has banned asylum seekers from swimming pools, sports facilities and other sites, according to Spiegel Online International. The agreement, which has been criticized by human rights groups, was made by the Swiss Office of Migration (BfM) and the town.   Read original story here. It’s

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Internal investigation reveals Helsinki Court of Appeal judges use racist and sexist language

What are we to make of a classified internal investigation into the behavior of the Helsinki Court of Appeals, which revealed some judges sexually harassed women at parties, used racist and sexist language during recesses and in meetings outside of the courtroom? If this occurs in our judicial system, how common is it among the

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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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How tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat reinforce our prejudices against immigrants and refugees

Tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat have a lot to learn about fairness, which is the cornerstone of all good news reporting. But tabloids aren’t interested in fairness but in sensationalism. A story by Ilta-Sanomat is headlined: ”Two Somalis use [fake] Yemeni passports to travel to Finland.”  Even if the story suggests that these Somalis are committing a crime

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Will anti-immigration rhetoric boost the PS in the upcoming Finnish elections?

Two important questions arise in light of the upcoming Euro MP and parliamentary elections in Finland in 2014 and 2015, respectively:  How many parties will use immigration as an election issue, and will the next two elections reveal the ugly face of intolerance of other political parties in Finland? If we look at the United

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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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Migrant Tales (July 22, 2012): What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7

What goes around comes around. Exactly a year ago (2012) 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

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Migrant Tales (September 30, 2010): Populist chatter and a tale of elk flies

MT comment: This is Migrant Tales’ first story on Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari published on September 30, 2010. The extremist anti-immigration politician was spreading is views back then. Like today, his pet topics were rape and far right nationalism.  ____________ There is a True Finns candidate in the April 2011 elections that spreads elk

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PS MP James Hirvisaari claims journalist “masturbated wildly” in phone interview

Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari is the best gift that anti-racists could have in this country. If there is a loose cannon in parliament, it’s Hirvisaari. The PS MP has a pretty one-track mind. When he opens his mouth, he usually talks about Muslim rapists, skid marks on toilet bowls and now his latest topic, masturbation.  Here’s

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Two Finlands will be celebrating our country’s first centennial in 2017

When Finland celebrates its first centennial on December 6, 2017,  what will we be commemorating? Independence? Our Nordic way of life? Social equality? Will there be two Finlands, one that is socially included and another one that is not, celebrating on that special day?     Source: Cornerstone News and Information. People who aren’t socially excluded

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Is Finland’s interior minister promoting a country built on equal treatment and equal opportunity?

Päivi Räsänen is in charge of the interior ministry that makes the following mission statement on its website: “Finland will be the safest country in Europe – a country built on equal treatment and equal opportunity.” Fine, agreed. How does Räsänen further the equal treatment of immigrants, gays and visible minorities when she speaks so

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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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Council of Europe concerned about ethnic profiling by police in Finland

Is it a surprise that the Council of Europe’s anti-racism body expressed concern in a report that Finnish police ask people’s ID based on ethnic appearance? No need to get an official answer to find out because ethnic profiling doesn’t happen in Finland. Why not ask immigrants and visible minorities instead if you went a candid

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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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Do we have the resources to keep a check on cyberhate thanks to Prism and Tempora?

Intelligence whistleblowers like Edward Snowden have not only shown the extent of global surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ, but how much governments like the United States flirt with totalitarianism and invest billions of dollars in trying to find a needle in a haystack. Writes the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to address anti-Semitism

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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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How the Finnish police and media spread prejudice against Romanians and the Romany minority

Here is a good example of how the police and media treat certain immigrant and ethnic groups publicly. A story on YLE tells us that the overwhelming amount of grand larceny cases committed by foreigners in Finland are by Lithuanians.   The majority of suspected grand larceny cases in Finland are  committed by Lithuanians. Why

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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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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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Broadcasting hatred and racism against Romanis from Bulgaria and Romania

I was surprised to listen on Thursday morning to Anssi Honkanen’s and Renne Korppila’s Aamupoika radio program on NRJ about Bulgarian and Romanian Romanis that come to Finland to beg. If you want to find the sources of Finnish racism and loathing for the Romany minority, tune into their morning program.  The program said, and this is not

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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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We must go to the source if we want to challenge intolerance in Finland

Even if the Continuation War (1941-44) and our military alliance with Nazi Germany ended 69 years ago, much of the ethnic ideology that sprung from that period is still alive and kicking. If we are serious about confronting intolerance in our society, we must challenge its many sacrosanct sources.  When I think of Finland’s short-lived

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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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Finnish Swedish-speaking journalists and public figures receive death threats

Is it a surprise that prominent Finns belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority received anonymous hate mail and death threats this week? If you want to find the roots of such hatred, one place to look is the anti-immigration, anti-Swedish language and anti-EU Perussuomalaiset (PS) party.  Members of the Swedish-speaking communities are not the only ones

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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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Sweden riots: People cannot live off football, crumbs and destitute pity

In the face of the riots in Huusby, Sweden, which have now spread outside the northern Stockholm suburb, there’s one culprit we should pay close attention to especially here in Finland: The erosion of Sweden’s comprehensive welfare state system.  Faced with a seven-billion-euro budget deficit, it isn’t surprising that few if any politicians in this

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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 Stockholm riots reveal in the raw our prejudices and loathing for cultural diversity

Apart from being a wake-up call to ever-growing social exclusion, discrimination and outright intolerance that is alive and kicking in Sweden, the riots in the northern suburb of Stockholm have revealed in Finland our prejudices and loathing for cultural diversity.  The Local writes: “Stockholm is not on fire. Let’s get that clear immediately.” Read full

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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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Assaulted Helsinki, Finland, black bus driver: Immigrants are treated unfairly by the police and law

Ali Dahir, the black bus driver who was assaulted Tuesday in Helsinki by a white Finn, claims that the police and the law treat foreigners differently from Finns. The bus driver, who is a Finnish citizen and a native of Somalia, was attacked while at work and suffered concussions. While the police and government officials

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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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Go GO PS MP Hirvisaari! Let all of your intolerance and racism hang out!

We have written so much about the outbursts of far right Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP James Hirvisaari that it isn’t funny. One of his latest statements on Facebook, where he considers using the Swedish language in parliament as “ridiculous,” is not an attack on this language minority but serves to expose the intolerance and loathing that the

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Councilman Mika Hiltunen gets sentenced for ethnic agitation but gets pat on the back by the PS

After Perussuomalaiset (PS) party Kontiolahti town councilman Mika Hiltunen was sentenced Tuesday by a court for ethnic agitation, we saw once again a familiar balancing by the PS: stating to moderates it doesn’t accept racism but at the same time assuring the extreme right that the party accepts racist outbursts by its members. We have

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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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DNA and Saunalahti don’t openly advertise that immigrants must live in Finland for two years and pay a deposit

Migrant Tales got in touch today with two telephone operators: DNA and Saunalahti. Both companies said that the minimum residence requirement of two years in Finland for an immigrant to get a mobile phone line or contract. Everything got complicated, however, when I asked them to tell me what they said in writing. When I asked a

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A case for the Ombudsman for Minorites: Finnish mobile phone and insurance companies

Migrant Tales has reported on how difficult it has been for some immigrants to open a bank account in this country never mind get access to online banking services. We learned last week that immigrants are having similar problems with mobile phone operators and obtaining life insurance.   Migrant Tales will send Monday to the Ombudsman for

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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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The Finnish media should stop picturing immigrants on social rollators

One of the problems when we challenge intolerance is to find its many hiding places and sources. Intolerance has many ways of surviving. One of these is microaggression that appears innocent on the surface but reinforces your exclusion, inferiority  and to walk about in your new homeland with a social rollator as a marked human being. A

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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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Landmark busman turban case will be another watershed in Finland’s acceptance of cultural diversity

Finland is about to cross another watershed in cultural diversity, when busman Gill Sukhdarshan Singh of Vantaa was prohibited from using a turban at work, reports Helsingin Sanomat. Some legal experts see it an open-and-shut legal case. The excuses for a turban ban by bus company Veolia highlight, however, a wider challenge facing our ever-growing

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Migrant Tales story sheds more light on a wider problem at schools in Mikkeli

Who says that writing cannot change matters? Migrant Tales published on Monday a story about a single mother who moved out of Mikkeli with her child because of the racist harassment at school. The story was picked up by Länsi-Savo, Itä-Savo, Peruopetus and commented widely in different national chat forums.  Read whole story here. On Friday Länsi-Savo wrote an

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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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Sara speaks out against the racist harassment her son endured at a school in Mikkeli, Finland

What would you do if you heard that an African single mother decided to leave Mikkeli for Helsinki because her eight-year-old child was a victim of racist harassment or bullying at school? Would you just register the news and brush it conveniently under the rug and reassure yourself that these types of things don’t happen

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Our lopsided debate on immigration and refugees serves to keep our society white

The most startling fact about a US state department report on human rights for 2012 weren’t the sentences for hate speech handed to Perussuomalaiset (PS) party members such as MP Jussi Halla-aho and Freddy Van Wonterghem, but the discrimination suffered by Finland’s Romany minority, which number about 10,000. Read full US secretary of state human

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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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Intolerance is a wonderful weapon to exploit newcomers and strike a blow to organized labor

There’s little chance to stop Finland from becoming an ever-growing class society or that its suspicion of immigrants and visible minorities will lessen anytime soon. Our greater intolerance of other groups won’t only be fueled by our prejudice and loathing, but by Finland’s “other” that will be more than happy to oblige. Some immigrants  and

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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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Abdulah: Healing the wounds inflicted by intolerance and regaining balance

Abdulah, who has appeared in a number of postings on Migrant Tales, hasn’t yet rallied enough courage to speak without the veil of anonymity. Like many who are scorned in Finland because of their ethnic background, regaining one’s balance and healing the wounds inflicted by intolerance can be a long process. “I have learned a

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Migrant Tales (July 22, 2012): What have we learned after Norway’s 22/7 and the Boston bombings?

Comment: As the manhunt for one of the two suspects continues in Boston, what should our reaction be to the two Chechen killers? This blog entry written on the first anniversary of the horrific killings in Norway by Anders Breivik could shed light on that question. ____________________ What goes around comes around. Exactly a year

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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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Migrant Tales administrator area access disabled temporarily due to widespread brute force attacks

I noticed this message late-morning Sunday when I attempted to access Migrant Tales from another computer.  Let’s hope that this matter is resolved soon and that this is a general problem.  Roughly a year ago we were deactivated for 13 hours and received hostile emails. Those who speak out for freedom of speech, or 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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Pastor Ansku Jaakkola says that racism in Jyväskylä is far worse than many think

Difficult times bring forth exceptional people. One of these is Pastor Ansku Jaakkola of the Adventist Church in Jyväskylä, who believes that racism in her Central Finnish city is far worse than many think. ”Our new [foreign] friends have told us that yelling and harassment happens on a daily basis,” she was quoted as saying

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How can Finland tackle intolerance today if it cannot come to terms with its past?

Finland’s present political and social dilemma could be best described in the following manner: On the one side it has a difficult time acknowledging ever-growing intolerance in its society, but on the other slowly understands that one major source of that intolerance are groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party. The PS has grown into a

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Migrant Tales takes part in German Broadcasting Company program on hate speech

Those that promote anti-cultural diversity sentiment are not only out to destroy your arguments but your self-esteem. Migrant Tales has proven over again that what we say on this blog has importance and does get noticed in Finland and abroad.  The German Broadcasting Company aired on Friday a program on hate speech in which we took

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Finland’s tolerance for cultural diversity is being tested to the limit these days

Finland’s tolerance to Otherness is being tested to the limit these days. If we look at it from a political perspective, the knee-jerk reaction is clear. Denying that there isn’t a connection between the stellar rise of an anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam party and our ever-growing cultural diversity is understanding a little or erroneously the

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Maaseudun Tulevaisuus: Soini sees himself forming government after the 2015 elections

What are we to think and believe about Timo Soini’s opinion piece on Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, where he claims that the next government formed after the 2015 parliamentary elections will comprise of three major parties? Certainly Soini sees his party emerging as the victor and Finland’s next prime minister.  Read Maaseudun Tulevaisuus news story on Timo

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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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YLE now ensures that it will be easier to distinguish news from opinion pieces

Migrant Tales has received an email from YLE regional and radio current affairs director, Teijo Valtanen, ensuring that the broadcaster will make sure that the blog entries of MPs published Fridays are clearly separated from news.  If we look at the opinion piece by Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen, which was published on Friday, the

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The repackaging and marketing of hate by anti-immigration parties and groups in Finland

Migrant Tales has shown on a number of blogs how neo-fascist groups like Golden Dawn of Greece, Hungary’s Jobbik and our own Finnish version of the latter, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, are examples of the growing intolerance in Europe. Any sensible immigrant, visible minority and European should be worried by the situation.  In Finland, our

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Suomen Sisu and its red herrings: Radical Islamists are now gaining a foothold in Finland

Suomen Sisu, a far right anti-immigration association, said in a statement today that it was concerned about “radical Islamists” gaining a foothold in  Finland after Anjem Courdary’s visit to Helsinki on Thursday.   Is the extremist association were honest, it would take a good look at itself in the mirror and warn us as well about

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It’s official: The PS doesn’t mind racists, Nazis and neo-Nazis among its ranks

A Perussuomalaiset (PS) party statement, giving Vaasa councilman Risto Helin a warning about a Hitler clock he gave to a neo-Nazi club in Vaasa, is a good example of political deception. If you read the statement carefully, it says that the party doesn’t mind racists, Nazis and neo-Nazis among its ranks as long as you do

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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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Finland’s and the PS’ three mentors: See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil

The latest scandal in the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party concerning  a councilmen who gave a clock with Hitler and swastikas to a neo-Nazi club in Vaasa, is another worrying example of how low we have stooped as a nation since the April 2011 election. Contrary to what some populist anti-immigration politicians may claim, we are not

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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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PS far right: Hirvisaari publicly supports the Finnish Defense League

Is it a surprise that far right Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MP James Hirvisaari now publicly supports the Finnish Defence League, which is an offshoot of the far right English Defense League (EDL)? Not really. The EDL is the fastest-growing far right street movement in England since the National Front erupted in the 1970s.  In a span

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How ideologically similar is Suomen Sisu to the Ku Klux Klan and U.S. American Nazi Party?

While some may claim the headline to be provocative, it’s not too far off the mark. With what we already know about Suomen Sisu, is there a potential that it could evolve into a Finnish version of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and U.S. American Nazi Party? Absolutely.  You can read about Suomen Sisu’s (in Finnish)

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YLE ensures that opinion pieces and news will be easily identifiable in the future

YLE emailed a Migrant Tales reader, who expressed concern Friday about an opinion piece written as news by Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen. It was an odd coincidence that Immonen’s opinion piece was published in such a manner, considering that the PS MP is the new chairman of Suomen Sisu, a far right anti-immigration association. 

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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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Some Finnish banks require Somalis to be Finnish citizens to have access to online banking

Migrant Tales understands that employees of banks like Nordea, Osuuspankki and Handelsbanken in Kouvola and Mikkeli tell Somalis that they must be Finnish citizens in order to have access to online banking. A blog entry published in March 2012 highlighted the difficulties that stateless persons face in opening a bank account never mind gaining access to

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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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Some immigrants adapt so well to Finland that they even parrot the language of the racist

Intolerance doesn’t only originate from the majority group, but is alive and kicking among some immigrants as well. White immigrants may have prejudices against their fellow black ones, gays against heterosexuals, religion x against religion y.  In sum, there’s a lot of intolerance promoted out there that reveals itself in the most surprising places.  One

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The National Discrimination Tribunal of Finland fines Nordea for discrimination

The National Discrimination Tribunal of Finland (Syrjintälautakunta) has given Nordea Bank Finland a conditional fine of 5,000 euros for not accepting a French identity card as proof of identity, the Tribunal said in a statement.  Moreover, the Tribunal considered the bank’s refusal to serve the client and his removal from the premises as an infringement

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What will happen to Finland if the PS matches its parliamentary election result in 2015?

Should we be worried by the latest polls, which show the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party vying for second place? What does the rise of the PS say about the present state of Finland? What will happen if the party matches its 2011 election result in 2015? Right after the disappointing municipal election, PS head Timo Soini promised that

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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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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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Police apprehend suspected attacker of black VR worker of Kajaani, Finland

The police have apprehended the suspect who violently attacked on Tuesday a black train cleaner working for state railways, VR, reports Kainuun Sanomat. The suspect, who is a foreigner, admitted to the police of attacking the VR worker, who has returned home after being operated twice in hospital.   Just because a person is a

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Columbus brought destruction, resentment to America and future wars to Europe

Imagine if the Internet existed when Christopher Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492 and we’d read about what ensued. Would our selective memory get the best of us and keep us in the dark for centuries about the systematic extermination of the Amerindians? Even if Bartolemé de las Casas (1484-1566), a historian and Dominican friar,

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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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Migrant Tales (October 1, 2011): Multicultural Finns – “Accepting yourself is the first step”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  Martin Luther King, Jr. A guest speaker gave on Friday her recipe on how young adolescents from different countries living in Finland could build a space for themselves in society. Two matters struck me from

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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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Haglund continues to challenge Soini on his broken campaign promises on racism

The rift between Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini and Carl Haglund, head of the Swedish People’s Party, reveals an ongoing David and Goliath duel where Soini is showing his true autocratic colors. Haglund challenged Soini last week to an open debate on racism after the PS leader was grilled on HARDtalk about this festering issue.    Soini

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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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Finland, the PS and far right: How long before the chickens come home to roost?

I’ve lived and worked in countries like Colombia and Argentina during the dirty war (1976-83), where people were and still are killed for what they write. Never would I have imagined that I’d receive my first death threats twenty years ago in this country, Finland. The threats and harassment haven’t stopped.   When I read

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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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If you’re anti-gay you’re probably anti-immigration (or don’t understand what is at stake)

It is surprising that a country like Finland, which claims to be a Nordic democracy, we see so much opposition to gays not only from anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), but from other ones as well like the National Coalition Party.  PS MP Mika Niikko, a fierce opponent of gay rights, echoed on Helsingin

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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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Creating political Frankensteins with the help of social media and prejudice

In Saami mythology there’s a large-but-not-too-bright monster called Staalo, which was made from a log, lichen and a few incantations. If we look at the recent rise of intolerance in Finland and Europe, social media has breathed life back to many Staalo-like political Frankensteins.  Staalo is a monster found in Saami mythology. Source: Tajukangas.  In

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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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University of Eastern Finland concerned over threats to their racism researchers

Unions representing racism and multiculturalism researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, expressed concern Wednesday over the threats they are receiving, reports YLE in English.  In a joint statement, the unions said that such threats to its researchers should be a cause for concern, especially in a region where intolerance is on the rise. “Our

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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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