THE STORY WAS UPDATED
On Friday, we read about an assault against a Perussuomalaiset (PS) politician in Jämsänkoski. Pekka Kataja, who was rushed to the hospital to treat his head wounds, broken ribs, and a concussion. The PS politician, who has made a name thanks to his anti-Muslim opinions, claims that the men who attacked him were “Arab-looking” and that the attack was politically motivated.
As we wrote in a previous blog entry, we should do everything possible to condemn and stamp out violence. If the attack against Kataja was politically motivated, this would be a very worrying sign.
But some question marks arise from Kataja’s claims. Some of these are:
- 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 his ID for a package with party flyers?
- Did the suspects speak Finnish with an “Arabic” accent?
- The PS believes that the attack was politically motivated. Why would anyone target a political noncelebrity in a small town in Finland?
Another one of these questions is that the attack was politically motivated because he wanted the Jämsä asylum reception center closed.
Speaking to one former resident of the reception center, expressed elation of its closing.
“It was the best news I had heard,” he said.
The “Arab-looking” suspect claim smells like a conspiracy theory of the PS. They have used such campaigns very effectively in the past, as we saw in Oulu with the sexual assault cases.
Thanks to the Tapanila sexual assault case about a month before the parliamentary elections of 2015.
In the last three parliamentary elections, conspiracy theories about sexual assault by foreigners have played an important role in attracting votes.
As in the above, people are individuals, and groups comprise of many different types of individuals. Grouping them into one solid block and generalizing about them is outright racist.
Sometimes, the strategy to incite racism backfires as in the case of two suspects that shot at police. The suspects weren’t “Arab minors with beards” as PS MP Sebastian Tynkkynen claimed, but two white Finnish brothers who live in Sweden.
The racist expression, “Arab minors with beards” (partalapsi) is a term to denegrate asylum seekers. Authorities should not believe their stories and they lie about their ages.
The PS has a lot of experience on how to spread fear and label migrants, especially Muslims.
We hope that the police investigation surrounding Kataja’s case gets resolved rapidly so these so-called “Arab-looking” suspects will be brought to face justice.