Exposing white Finnish privilege #41: An Islamophobic politician and gender equality

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A campaign for gender equality by Naisjäjestöt NJKL is an excellent example of white privilege and denial. In the tweet below with four pictures of only white women, we know that Elisabeth Rehn and former Helsiniki Bishop Irja Askola have spoken out against racism and hate speech. However, on the top right hand of the picture we find Blue Reform* (New Perussuomalaiset) MP Maria Lohela, who made her political career by spreading Islamophobia and hatred towards migrants.

I remember before the 2011 elections Lohela’s hostile posts against Muslims. She was one of the signatories of the Nuiva Manifesto in 2010. What does the it propose? In the simplest terms it is a manifesto that aims to further disenfranchise migrants and minorities in this country.

Here are some of the policy recommendations that Lohela endorsed in 2010:

  • Finland should not copy Sweden’s “multicultural” policies;
  • The Finnish state should stop financing immigrant groups’ culture, language, identity and religion;
  • They want to keep neighborhoods white with a red herring argument that they are against them becoming ghettos;
  • Endorse white supremacy by keeping neighborhoods “white” and peppering migrants as far apart from each other as possible so they will lose their culture and identity;
  • The manifesto recommends that new migrants should only be given social assistance for a year maximum. This, as anyone understands, is unconstitutional;
  • Deport migrants who commit crimes even to countries that are responsible for gross human rights violations;
  • Finnish citizenship will be granted on a conditional basis and can be revoked.

The policy recommendations of the Nuiva Manifesto are a far cry from social equality never mind gender equality. That is why Lohela’s picture in the Naisjärjestöt NJKL campaign is problematic.

Read the original tweet here.

White Finnish privilege #41

Gender equality is tied to social equality. Turning a blind eye to social equality and giving the thumbs up to gender equality just doesn’t do it. The Naisjärjestöt NJKL campaign is a good example of how the system gives immunity to politicians who make racist statements.

I’m surprised that women who have shown leadership against hate speech and racism would forget who Lohela is and how she made her political career by spreading Islamophobia and racism.

What should Lohela do?

For starters, she should apologize for the statements she made against migrants and minorities.

If she doesn’t and if Naisjärjestöt NJKL turns a blind eye we can conclude: This is a disingenuous campaign that is not intended on changing anything.

See also:

* After the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity.  One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic. 

A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.