On Friday night, a Pakistani was brutally attacked by a group of youths and stabbed at least twenty times and repeatedly hit with ax causing, among other injuries, a fractured skull. The police are quiet until Tuesday when it puts out a statement, which does not mention that this may be a hate crime.
If the attack is a hate crime, it is without a doubt one of the worst ever reported in Finland.
But that is not what the police thinks. Detective Chief Inspector Mikko Minkkinen is quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Helsingin Sanomat that it is not a hate crime.
One problem that some see with Minkkinen’s statement is that it is unconvincing and raises questions like if the police have the proper training to deal with hate crimes.
By ruling out that the crime against the Pakistani immigrant didn’t have “racist motives” is a shallow response and raises more concern among migrants and minorities about their safety in this country.
Read the full story here.
Miro del Gaudio, a lawyer at Lex Gaudius, said that the vital matter to establish concerning the crime is the motive.
“Establishing the motive is important,” he said.
A way of establishing motive is to look at Bias, according to a comprehensive OSCE ODIHR Hate Crime Reporting manual.
Some of these suggested bias indicators would point to an Islamophobic or anti-migrant hate crime:
- Difference of ethnicity/background between the perpetrator and victim;
- Proximity to a mosque as well or another venue associated with Muslims/migrants;
- What does the victim’s community say?
- What does the perpetrator say why he did it?
- The vehemence of the attack – this is a very strong indicator.
Any two of the above would warrant the police investigation Bias/hate as a motive.
So far, and as far as we can gather, there are three points: (1) difference of ethnic background; (2) what does the victim’s community say; (3) and the vehemence of the attack.
Migrant Tales got in touch with Shane O’Curry, president of ENAR (European Network Against Racism) Ireland, a national network of anti-racism civil society organizations that addresses social ills like hate crime and hate speech. He said that it was a good matter that there is concern in the migrant community about what happened and that they should press the police for more answers.
“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate that the police need training in dealing with hate crime, clear protocols, and resources,” he continued. “Had these things been in place, the police would have known to look for Bias indicators and known that their presence warrants further investigation as a hate crime.”
I have also asked the police in three emails to answer what constitutes a hate crime in Finland but I did not get an adequate answer.
The police respond to the first email: “Our investigation has shown that there’s nothing to point to a hate crime. The fact that the victim is Pakistani or some other than a Finnish citizen doesn’t make this automatically a hate crime.
Migrant Tales question that the police did not respond: “Hey! I’m not suggesting that this is an automatic assumption. All I want to know is under what conditions can a person be charged with a hate crime. The link you gave me didn’t explain well what is a hate crime and how a person can be accused of such a crime.