By Enrique Tessieri
It is clear that matters are no longer the same for the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party after the horrific events that shook Norway and the world on July 22. Migrant Tales predicted a couple of days after the mass killings that they would cast a critical light on far right and right-wing populist parties like the PS, which have been riding the crest of the popularity wave thanks to their anti-immigrant and anti-Islam rhetoric.
That popularity that Soini saw no end to just over a week ago has now subsided and entered turbulent political waters.
An interesting article on the Norway killings on New York Times shows pretty well the culpability of Counter-Jihadists like Jussi Halla-aho, even if they want to distance themselves at all costs from the mass killings in Norway.
Writes the New York Times: Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”
It is clear that if there is big political fallout from Norway to the PS, it will be to Soini’s decision to take under his wing Counter-Jihadists like Halla-aho and his followers. More people are asking why mass killer Anders Brehing Breivik’s 1,500-odd page manifesto cited Halla-aho together with other anti-Islam hardliners in Europe and the United States. What is the ideological connection and why was the PS Breivik’s ideological party of choice in Finland?
The political damage not only threatens to hit PS’ popularity and splinter the party in two, it could spell the end for Halla-aho as the chairman of the Administration Committee, whose responsibilities include among other matters immigration policy. Halla-aho’s situation as head of that committee will become untenable sooner or later for the PS and other political parties.
That is why Soini is waiting with manifest unease the next opinion polls and hoping that the political storm in post-22/7 will subside.
The shelving of Halla-aho and his follower to some quiet unnoticed corner of parliament may be easier said than done. Soini must be weighing what options will cost him and the party the least.
The PS leader gave his views on a recent talk show about how dangerous hate speech was. He said that at the end the same hate that one preaches destroys the person who spreads it.
Was he speaking in the back of his greatest fears of the PS?