By Enrique Tessieri
Finland’s secret police, Supo, has recently warned about how terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab of Somalia are recruiting their nationals in Finland to fight in the bloody civil war of that troubled country. Such claims by Finland’s secret police have been denied by Finland’s Somali League president Abridrshid Awad Dirie.
“I haven’t as president of the Somali League noticed any radicalization (of Somalis in Finland),” Dirie was quoted as saying in MTV3. “I respect Supo’s work but we have not noticed anything of the kind.”
Even though terrorism in any form or shape should be forcefully condemned by a society like ours, we should likewise not accept on face value statements of possible threats by agencies like Supo. If such affirmations are made, they should take into account the adverse impact on public opinion.
One of the matters that worries me most about these types of possible threat scenarios is that, apart from the fact that they have never happened in Finland, they effectively maintain a climate of mistrust and prejudice against visible immigrants in general and Somalis in particular.
Why didn’t Supo state that the overwhelming amount of Somalis that live in Finland are law-abiding residents and citizens of this country? Making such a distinction would have made a clear distinction between those Somalis residing in Finland and branding the whole group as a branch country of Al Shabaab.
Everyone who has had the opportunity to know Somalis will agree that some of them are the most eager to integrate into Finnish society. Our denial and inability to come to terms with our racism towards this group is a major obstacle.
As the aim of terrorism is to terrorize a society or group(s), governments and their agencies have used fear as an effective tool to advance their political agenda and greater spending on security. The use of torture with the help of extraordinary rendition by the United States to interrogate suspects is a good example of how far countries can stretch the term “threat” to justify the means.
As most of us known, such measures only end up undermining our democratic institutions and serving the ends of these terrorist organizations.
It would be a welcome step if the public could have more information about what kinds of threats our society faces. These should be based on fact – not on general speculation.