Maters have calmed down in the face of sexual harassment cases in Oulu after the April 14 parliamentary elections. Even so, many visible minorities and migrants don’t feel safe in public.
One Muslim resident of Oulu, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Muslims don’t feel safe in public even if matters have calmed down after the elections
“The [Perussuomalaiset*] politicians got what they wanted from the [sexual assault] cases [by coming in second and almost winning the election),” the Muslim said. “Some of us don’t go out alone for fear that something might happen. People yell at us in public calling us rapists, and they attacked a Muslim family in Oulu. Finland is not a democracy.”
The Muslim resident, who said that the latest parliamentary election result is proof that Finland is a racist country, stated that he commonly gets strange looks whenever he enters a store.
“I entered a shop recently, and everyone inside looked at me as if I were an alien in the wrong planet,” he said. “I want to leave this country.”
Dr Abdul Mannan is the imam of the Oulu mosque and chairperson of the Islamic Society of Northern Finland. He has lived in Finland for 27 years.
Dr Abdul Mannan.
“Muslims of Oulu don’t feel safe even to go to the city center in the afternoon,” said Dr Mannan. “I have five children who grew up here, and I never had to worry about their safety as some families do now.”
The mosque, which was vandalized nine times since September 2017, had decided after the Christchurch attacks [March 15] to place 10 voluntary members to guard the premises during Friday prayer.
The suspect used a bike rack on February 26 to smash the window at 5.10 am and threw a smoke grenade inside the premises. It was the ninth time that the mosque was vandalized since September 2017 Source: Dr Abdul Amman.
“We asked the police to patrol the area, but our calls were not heeded,” he said. “They didn’t take our request seriously [so we took matters in our hands]. We asked them to put a squad car near the mosque, but they did not do anything.”
Dr Mannan says that those that vandalized the mosque do so in the early hours or late at night when there is nobody at the mosque. One matter that surprises him as well as other members of his congregation is that after nine attacks nobody has been brought to custody.
The Imam said that the present situation does nothing more than erode trust in the police.
* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. 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.