Pekka Kataja’s attackers are two far-right activists. Have the Finnish authorities awoken to the threat of such groups?

by , under All categories, Enrique Tessieri


In April, I had the opportunity to interview Yaron Nadbornik, the president of the Jewish Community of Helsinki. One of the matters that struck me of the interview was that in 2018-2019 the authorities started to recognize anti-Semitism as a problem.

Today the police took into custody two far-right activists charged for the attempted murder of Pekka Kataja, a Perussuomnalaiset (PS) councilor of Jämsänkoski, who was brutally attacked by two suspects.

Teemu Torssonen (left) is a municipal politician from Jyväskylä, who was sacked from the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party last year. Tero Ala-Tuuhonen has a murkier far-right record with ties to far-right groups like Kansallismielisten liittouma, of which he is the chairperson, Soldiers of Odin, neo-Nazi Kohti vapautta!, among others.
PS MP Mauri Peltokangas is one of many politicians of the same party that participates in events organized by the far right. Note the Kansallismielisten liittouma logo on the lower left of the snapshot above. The group’s chairperson Ala-Tuuhonen was detained today on suspected attempted murder charges.

Even if Kataja suspected one of these two as a “person of Arabic origin,” he later changed his story and blamed the attackers for being members of the far-right.

While it is a good matter that Kataja’s attackers were apprehended by the police, it does raise a lot of questions about the rise of the far-right, Islamophobia, and racism and what the authorities are doing to counter these types of threats to our society.

If Nadbornik said that only recently the authorities have woken up to the threat of anti-Semitism in Finland, have they done the same concerning far-right and populist groups?

The Kataja case reveals that the PS is a convoluted party that uses 1 + 1 = 2 logic to spread its racism and far-right ideology, which always latches on to its message. Flirting with the far-right and believing your hate is poisonous.

If we put the PS’ chairperson Jussi Halla-aho aside, who is an Islamophobe who lurks in the stuffy closets of fascism, the PS has for years had a close relationship with the far-right.

PS parliamentary group leader Ville Tavio’s reveals in a tweet below the hypocrisy and opportunism of the party.

The suspected are in jail for attempted murder. If their motive was political, it was an attack on the democratic system. Who would ever believe that left-green would start to attack the Perussuomalaiset with a hate campaign? Source: Twitter.