From Black February 2012 to the brutal attack of a Pakistani migrant in 2018 – are these hate crimes?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Is it a coincidence that Black February, which took place in 2012 and involved the violent deaths of three members of the Muslim community of Finland, happened on the same month when a Pakistani was brutally attacked by three white Finns in Vantaa? While the timing may have happened by chance, there are similarities between what happened in February 2012 and on February 23. 

The events that took place six years ago in February involved a Somali in Oulu leaping to his death on January 31 from the fourth floor after three white Finns broke into his home; the violent death of an eighteen-year-old Somali Finn who was killed in the Espoo neighborhood of Leppavaara by his white Finnish schoolmate; and a white Finn called Janne entering a pizzeria in Oulu and killing in cold blood a Moroccan and wounding the owner, who is Algerian, before taking his own life.

Before the three deaths and suicide, a foreigner who delivered newspapers in Oulu was threatened by three men on December 23, 2011, and decided to jump off the stairway balcony on the third floor. An ambulance arrived, but he did not die from the leap.

In all cases, the police appear reluctant to pin racism as a motive.

February 2012 and 2018

Is it a coincidence that the police have arrived at the same conclusion concerning the brutal attack of the Pakistani migrant in February?

The attack happened on Friday and the following day, the police got in touch with the wife of the victim. The first question she asked the police was if what happened was a hate crime. The police denied it was a hate crime because the suspects “were intoxicated,” according to the wife.

While we don’t know all the facts of the crime, “intoxication” does not absolve a person from committing a hate crime.

Moreover, the wife claimed later that the police told her that it could not be a hate crime because it “wasn’t planned.” A hate crime can be planned.

The reaction of the police concerning the wife’s concerns reveals that the police appear reluctant to place “hate” as a factor in the attack of the Pakistani migrant.



A lot of questions arise. One of these is how did the police arrive so rapidly at the conclusion that it wasn’t a racist crime? How come it took the police until Tuesday to release a statement that did not mention the words hate crime. The police officer that was investigating the crime, Detective Chief Inspector Mikko Minkkinen, was, however, quoted as saying in the media that it was not a hate crime.

He has also denied it to Migrant Tales.


For some reason, the police have killed the link about the detention of the people suspected in the Somali’s death after he leaped from the fourth floor.

Here is another broken link that was a story about the police beginning an investigation of Tommi Rautio, the PS councilperson, who suggested that the killer of the Moroccan at the Oulu pizzeria should be given a medal. At first, the police did not want to investigate the incident as a racist crime but then changed their minds a few days later. Read the original story here.

 Hate crime or not

Could the most recent case of the Pakistani migrant make us suspicious that the police may want rule out a racist motive in a crime for political reasons and avoid public anger and panic in the Muslim and migrant community?

Even if it is the right of every person in Finland to feel safe, the Pakistani family does not feel safe in Finland. By denying that what happened was anything but a a hate crime does not make the family feel any more secure or enhances trust in the police.

Is the Pakistani case an example of institutional racism in the Finnish police service? In the UK, the Macpherson report was key in addressing institutional racism.

According to the Macpherson report, institutional racism is defined as: “The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional services to people because of their color, culture or ethnic origin which can be seen or detected in processes; attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people”

One of the main recommendations of that report was that it would encompass “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” The overwhelmingly white Finnish police won’t apparently make that call or will they give an explanation to the victims why.

Considering the police’s record on ethnic profiling and recent revelations like secret racist Facebook pages have been a blow to police credibility in the eyes of some migrants and minorities.

Victim becomes suspect

Migrant Tales had the opportunity to meet six years ago the father of the Somali Finn, Abdisalam Mohamed Abdulah, who was killed in Leppavaara. The father, Mursal Abdulah, was full of grief about the death of his son. He did not have any kind words for how the police handled the case.

Abdisalam’s father and wife came to Finland in August 1990 and were the first group of Somali refugees that sought asylum in Finland after arriving from the Soviet Union.

Apart from the police not expressing any empathy for the parents’ grief, it was difficult to get any information from the police about the crime, according to Abdulah.

“We were treated coldly and felt like we were the criminals,” he said. “The police appeared to be more concerned about keeping the case under wraps because they feared a revenge attack by Somalis.”

The latter was confirmed by media like MTV, which quoted Detective Chief Inspector Rauli Salonen as saying that they have heard rumors that Somali youths want revenge for what happened to Abdisalam.

A lot of questions remain from the crime: Was the father of the suspect complicit iin the crime? Who was spreading rumors about revenge attacks and where they fabricated by the police?

The Finn who killed Abdisalam was sentenced to six years for manslaughter.

It was not a hate crime, according to the police.