Condemn the attack, but don’t blame “Arab-looking” people

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Pekka Kataja, a Perussuomalaiset (PS)* campaign manager from Jämsänkoski, was brutally attacked Friday at his home by what he called two “Arabian-looking” men. He claims that the attack was political because, as an ardent Islamophobe, he was in favor of shutting down the Jämsä asylum reception center.

While all forms of violence should be condemned, what happened to Kataja is unacceptable and an affront to the rule of law. We hope that Kataja’s recovery will be swift.

Here is the flip side of the story: Of all the parties in Finland, the PS knows how to label and exploit Islamophobia for its political means.

Moreover, there may be something fishy or missing from the big picture when members of the PS start to spread conspiracy theories like the Tweet below by Olli Kotro.

“I wonder if the murder attempt against Pekka Kataja was an attempt and ordered by the EU elite or the EU intelligence services?” Olli Kotro is MEP Laura Huhtasaari’s aide. Source: Twitter

There are a number of questions that the Kataja incident raises:

Kataja’s statement in Keskisuomalainen and where he claims the attackers were “Arab-looking” men.
  • Did the “Arab-looking” suspects speak Finnish with an accent?
  • Kataja has a long track record for his Islamophobic views;
  • In a 2017 Yle election compass, he mentioned as one of his goals was to end “asylum tourism” and that Finland cannot afford to pay billions [of euros] to provide for them;”
  • Didn’t any red lights start to flash when the two “Arab-looking” suspects asked him to show ID for a package with party flyers?
  • The PS believes that the attack was politically motivated. Why would anyone target a political noncelebrity in a small town in Finland?

When Kataja mentions that his criticism for the closure of the asylum reception center was one factor that instigated the attack and was, therefore “politically motivated,” I wonder if asylum seekers who live at the reception center wouldn’t be happy to leave?

Just like the PS commonly blame “people of foreign origin” (code for Muslim) for sexual assaults and all sorts of other crimes, it is wrong to generalize and pin the blame on “Arab-looking” people who are Muslims.

The most perverse matter of this crime is how the PS plans to gain the maximum spin to benefit its Islamophobic and racist agenda.

Let’s condemn what happened but let’s not label whole groups like the PS commonly does.