New book on Somali community of Finland highlights what we’ve known for long: social hostility and blatant discrimination

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A new book called Suomen somalit  by Yusuf M. Mubarak, Eva Nilsson and Niklas Saxén reinforces what has been already known about some of the challenges that Finland’s Somali community faces: racism and social exclusion. 

“I have never felt that I am a Finn,” said Suleqo Yusuf,  23, a Somali Finn, was quoted as saying in the book. “Here you’re always an outsider and different, never a part of society.”

The feeling of being an eternal outsider in Finland is felt by many migrants and minorities as well.

Migrant Tales recently spoke to a Somali Finn who said that she does not identify with a country like Finland because of its hostility towards her.

“I am a citizen of the world,” she said. “Not a Finn. I don’t identify with this country [even if I was born and bred here].”

You don’t have to have a PhD in sociology to understand where some of the problems lie. If the Somali community has been in Finland since the early 1990s. Check the discrimination and hostility that the Romany minority, which has lived in Finland for about 500 years, has suffered at the hands of the white Finnish majority.

While matters are improving, the Roma in Finland continue to face discrimination and racism daily.

Mubarak, one of the three authors of the book, states that its clear that a lot of problems will arise if children are told that they are equal to white Finns but rapidly find out that this isn’t the case.



So what is the value of such a book and what does it reveal?

It shows something that has always been there but which society has not wanted to admit: its own issues with racism. The Somali Finnish community, like many other ones, want to be a part of society and treated with respect but usually get back prejudice and bigotry instead. These latter social ills are too high walls for many to overcome.

Racism in Finland, like in other European countries, is shameful and the language of bravado-inflated cowards.  For their failures to solve high unemployment and recession politicians prefer instead to point their guns and attack migrants and minorities.

If you disagree, try figuring out how the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* became one of the biggest parties from 2011 in Finland.

I have personally met many Somalis in Finland and there is one matter that stands out: They are respectful and strong. Islamophobic politicians like PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho are making a grave mistake by singling and victimizing the whole Somali community in this country.

One day more of this country’s future leaders will come from such a community. They will see Islamophobic politicians like Halla-aho and his followers in the same light as the worst apologists for apartheid in South Africa and those that supported and still support Jim Crow laws in the United States.

What will happen to a party like the PS when voters connect the dots and figure out that they’ve been lied to with the help of fabricated scapegoats?

There is a saying in Spanish that claims no evil lasts 100 years. Since a human doesn’t live for 100 years, his or her evil cannot last that long. One day it will end when the person dies.

This will be the fate of the PS and of this wretched period in Finland’s history.

The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.