By Enrique Tessieri
Perussuomalaiset (PS) councilman for Kotka, Freddy Van Wonterghem got slapped with a 420-euro fine for inciting ethnic hatred against a group, according to Kymen Sanomat. While the fine is small compared with PS MP James Hirvisaari’s 1,424 euros in December, it is symbolic and reveals, albeit modestly, that Finland has the teeth to stand up against hate speech.
Van Wonterghem, like his PS anti-immigration hardliners, are shameful cases of how low some members of our society can stoop. The Belgian-born naturalized Finn is a Holocaust denier as well.
One of the matters that far-right extremists do in Finland and elsewhere is move the goalposts to suit their myopic view of the world. They try, with their pitiful arguments, to make racism and social exclusion of other groups “normal.”
Here is an example of the typical double-talk of the far right coming straight from Van Wonterghem’s mouth: “I feel that I have been accused of something that I haven’t done [inciting ethnic hatred],” he was quoted as saying on Kymen Sanomat, “of offending Western concepts and Christian values.”
Sure, Van Wonterghem, believe anything you want. Our “Western concepts and Christian values” permit you to claim that it was ok to kill a Muslim woman because it would be one less person giving birth to a Muslim child.