Pekka Siikala: Three types of immigration critics in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Pekka Siikala is a blogger of the Green Party who writes stinging commentary about anti-immigration groups in Finland.  In his latest blog on Uusi Suomi, Three type of immigration critics (Kolmen sortin maahanmuuttokriitikoita), is no exception.

(I personally don’t use the term “immigration critic” because it is a red herring that hides the true nature of the beast: anti-immigration and Islamophobia in the most extreme cases. Click here to get a better explanation in Finnish.)

The most visible of the three groups cited by Siikala are the ones that see religion as the key issue. This groups, led by Jussi Halla-aho and James Hirvisaari, hate Islam and in practice Somalis. He considers this group to be the most dangerous to Finland because it is made up of religious fanatics.

The second group comprises of those that simply fear foreigners. Their main argument hinges on skin color and dress. Like the first group, this one is also highly suspicious of Muslims and Somalis. Their favorite motto is “conform to our country or leave.”

The third group is worried about the chances of immigrants adapting to Finland. They are critical about immigrants moving to our country because they believe that we  do not have the resources to integrate them in our society. This group is less visible and the smallest of the three mentioned by Siikala.

In my opinion, there are two big groups concerning those that take part in the immigration debate: those who see immigration as beneficial/positive and those that see it as a threat/negative.  The arguments that ensue from these two views are only “background information” supporting the former or latter group’s stance directly or indirectly.

Do you agree?

  1. Enrique

    If we look at far-right, anti-immigration groups throughout Europe and the world they have pretty much the same message to justify their racism and ignorance: this group of people are so different from us that they can never adapt to our country.

    Another interesting matter you should search in their discourse is that they are constantly complaining but offer NO workable solutions. Why? Because they don’t know or have any solutions to offer. Their answers to immigrants would be in many cases breach human rights and our laws.

    One interesting characteristic of these far-right groups is that they are constantly picking a fight to justify their racism and ignorance. In our society we need a big dose of tolerance and acceptance. Without it we are lost.

    Far-right groups would never recommend and impose the same restrictions on immigrants to their followers or countrymen. One of these is dress.

  2. Enrique

    If you read the comments that Siikala’s writings awaken, you can get a good picture of the darkest and most ignorant views about how people see immigration and refugees. These people are, however, a minority parading in parties like the True Finns, Muutos 2011, Vapauspuolue and others. Our “Siikala commenter” is Tiwaz.

    • Enrique

      Below is a good example of a typical True Finns comment on refugees by Jussi Halla-aho, who took part in a debate organized by Kokoomus on Tuesday in Helsinki: “Those that arrive from the third world have not in great terms been able to integrate anywhere in Europe,” said Halla-aho. “The central problem is not racism of the local population but the characteristics of those that arrive. The majority of them don’t have any education and usally have a hostile attitude towards the local culture and customs.”*

      This person who speaks in such a fashion is surprisingly seen as an “expert” on immigration and refugee issues by some in Finland. If you expoit people’s fears and spread lies about others you are seen as an “expert.” You are even able to get political capital in the process. Is this the party that is going to sit in the next government? Shameful.

      If you took Halla-aho’s and the words of others in his group and replaced Islam/Muslim with Finn, you would have a revolt on your hands. That is the hate and ignorance that Halla-aho exploits and seeks political capital. Pekka Siikala has described him as a “religious fundamentalist.” Far-right Tea Party populist would be where he’d be at home in the United States.

      But the mystery remains: Where does he get these suspect facts about immigrants and refugees? If he speaks of Third World asylum-seejers that includes Latin America as well as parts of Asia. I know many Latin Americans in Finland who have excelled and adapted well never mind Asians, Africans and Muslims, whom Halla-aho bashes to drive home is Islamophobic message.

      Could somebody tell me if Halla-aho ever held a permanent, real job? Is is linked or has been linked with Suomen Sisu, an organization which Supo has classfied as neo-Nazi?

      * “Kolmannen maailman tulijoiden kotoutuminen ei ole onnistunut missään Euroopan maassa laajassa mitassa,” Halla-aho totesi. “Keskeinen ongelma ei ole kantaväestön rasismi vaan tulijoiden ominaisuudet. Suurella osalla ei ole koulutusta ja on usein vihamielinen suhtautuminen paikalliseen kulttuuriin ja elämäntapaan.”

  3. Tony Garcia

    Ok, now Halla-aho is a religious fanatic and a neo-Nazi? Enrique, sometimes you can be hilarious. You are a good example on why someone shouldn’t really write about what they don’t really know much about.

    However, with Perus reaching 18% and Timo being invited to the PM debate alongside the “big” parties, I wonder if you are not in the “desperate times, desperate measures” mode already.

    Why Halla-aho just talk about Muslim and Africans but not Latinos? Well you already explained it yourself… “I know many Latin Americans in Finland who have excelled and adapted well.”

    • Enrique

      –Ok, now Halla-aho is a religious fanatic and a neo-Nazi?

      I said that Siikala sees him in the column as a religious fanatic. Maybe he meant religious fundamentalist. There is a lot of that in the US and Europe these days. You should ask Supo how they classify Suomen Sisu but I think it does not look very good. Halla-aho, as well as many of his followers, are a part of Suomen Sisu. Finnish far-right politics is different from Spain. It’s Finnish but has the same warped ideas.

      I am surprised that you have not met many people in Finland. I know a Muslim who gets up at 5am and comes back from work at 10pm. That is a pretty long day.

      The discourse of Halla-aho and his group is clear as day. But you know what is even worse? They don’t have any plan. Maybe they would have to do a “Germany 1933” to impose their views on society.

    • Enrique

      Hi xyz, the True Finns don’t have a plan. They have no idea what to do but they are ready to form part of government. But the polls are one thing and the ballot box another.

  4. Tom Beidler

    I’m not sure if I agree with everything Tony Garcia is saying but I think he touches on an important point, are we talking about immigrants or just Muslims? The second category in particular, are they afraid of Asians, Indians, etc?

    • Enrique

      Hi Tom and welcome to Migrant Tales. I checked out your neat blog and that is quite a task to publish three pictures a day.

      I think the important matter to keep in mind is that for a society to reap the benefits of diversity it must be fair to all groups. Certainly we can talk about people with skills without getting into where they are from. Why is that important for some? Inclusion is key and that is attained by mutual acceptance and respect.

      We look forward to hearing more from you.

  5. Tony Garcia

    Hi Tom,

    When people in Finland talks about immigrants, either to support or criticize, they are usually talking about Muslims and Africans, more precisely Somalis, Iraqis and Afghans. The three more problematic groups in Finland today. Being an immigrant myself I fell this highly unfair and offensive, but this is how it’s.

    Why? Well, in my opinion, as I said, those groups are very problematic. High unemployment rates, very low literacy, and high criminality. So, Finns are not happy to have these people around. One can argue the rights and wrongs of Finns thinking like this, but we must admit this as a fact. Of course the Stockholm bombing and the latest arrests made here in Europe is not really helping much the Muslim cause.

    Other groups of immigrants – Europeans, Americans, Latinos, Chinese, Japanese, etc. are doing quite well in Finland, so Finns don’t really bother much about having them around.

  6. Tom Beidler

    Thanks for the replies. I’m still figuring the country out. The immigrant topic became somewhat of a concern for me via my own blog. I usually get a couple of hits a day but twice in the past I have had a four or five times the usual “spike” so I checked where it was coming from and it appears to be a Finnish anti-immigrant group checking out a post I did on my sons class. It’s a bit of a concern.

    • Enrique

      Hi Tom, those “rush of hits” you get are common here. I once got 800 hits in a day because somebody had alerted a webiste, most likely hommaforum, that I had written something they did not like. Don’t worry about them. It’s great that your blog is getting noticed.

      I hope nothing serious about your son. We all have the same concerns as parents.

  7. Tony Garcia


    I don’t know the reasons which bring you to Finland, but I think you’ll be quite please with the country and its people. Finland is a nice place to live, if you can cope with the bloody cold. I worked with 3 Americans when working for Nokia and all were doing very well and love the place. I think you’ll do just fine.

    But a little advice from an immigrant to another, if a may. Don’t fall for this “racism/discrimination” paranoia that some people here will try to make you believe exists. Of course there is racism in Finland, but it’s a drop in the ocean, and discrimination is against the law and it’ll be very difficult for you to find a Finn who will take any changes to brake the law.

    Also, there is no such a thing as anti-immigration groups. Those groups only wants Finland have a positive immigration policy, which brings people who can assimilate and adapt and be a productive part of this society. If you ever talk with one of these so called “anti-immigration” people I can ensure you that after listen to their motives and reasons you’ll start to have second thoughts about their “anti-immigration” agenda.

    Just for the record I have 2 children born in Finland (my wife is also Finn) who have my name (Garcia) and I have no concern with this whatsoever. They are far safer in Finland than in UK, for instance.

    Good luck in Finland and enjoy your stay.

    • Enrique

      I think Tony is old and wise enough to make his own decisions.

      –Those groups only wants Finland have a positive immigration policy, which brings people who can assimilate and adapt and be a productive part of this society.

      Tony, you sound like the far-right Danish People’s Party. This exactly what they are saying and when they put out this message they use the term “Muslim.” They do not distinguish it’s all the same for them.

    • Enrique

      Tony, we are going to start publishing memorable quotes every Monday. If you think that there is a quote you would like to share with us from Steyn, you are welcome to send it to me ([email protected]).

  8. _Tiwaz_

    And how does this Siikala suggest we solve problems caused by immigrants?

    By pretending they do not exist?

    How are YOU Enrique suggesting we solve those problems? Excessive crime for example…

    • Enrique

      Maybe you should write to Risto Laakonen and ask him why Finland has one of the highest violent crimes in Europe? What about those Finns in jails in Norway and Sweden.

      Stop demonizing people. It’s really does not lift your argument level.

      Risto Laakkonen: “(Hanna Millan) kirjassa korostetaan rikollisuuden tuloa Suomeen maahanmuuton seurauksena. Suomi on ilman maahanmuuttoakin yksi maailman ja ehdottomasti Euroopan väki-valtaisin maa kun Balkan jätetään huomioimatta. Silti maahanmuuttaja -taustaisten henkilöiden rikoksia ei tule peitellä. Vaakakupin toisella puolella on sitten ulkomailla rikoksista tuomittujen suomalaisten paikoin näkyvä osuus erityisesti Ruotsissa ja Norjassa.”

  9. Tony Garcia

    Do you want some quotes? There is some quotes for you…

    “I cannot emphasize enough how wrongheaded this is. Withholding criticism and ignoring differences are racism in its purest form. Yet these cultural experts fail to notice that, through their anxious avoidance of criticizing non-Western countries, they trap the people who represent these cultures in a state of backwardness. The experts may have the best of intentions, but as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    “Many well-meaning Dutch people have told me in all earnestness that nothing in Islamic culture incites abuse of women, that this is just a terrible misunderstanding. Men all over the world beat their women, I am constantly informed. In reality, these Westerners are the ones who misunderstand Islam. The Quaran mandates these punishments. It gives a legitimate basis for abuse, so that the perpetrators feel no shame and are not hounded by their conscience of their community. I wanted my art exhibit to make it difficult for people to look away from this problem. I wanted secular, non-Muslim people to stop kidding themselves that “Islam is peace and tolerance.”

    Ayaan Hirsi – Somali refugee

    “As a social scientist, I have been opposing political correctness, lack of assimilation of new immigrants to mainstream Canada, hyphenated Canadian identity, and, among other things, the lack of patriotism to our great nation. We are restricted to do things the Canadian way lest we offend the minorities. We cannot even say Merry Christmas. It is amazing that 77% of the Canadian majority are scared of offending 23% of Canadian minorities. We have become so timid that the majority cannot assert its own freedom of expression.

    “I once supported multiculturalism in Canada because I believed then that it gave us a sense of pluralism and diversity. However, I have observed and experienced that multiculturalism has encouraged convolution of our mainstream culture. It has also been exploited by some sub-cultural and religious groups in terms of government grants.”

    “I’d tell them, this is Canada, and in Canada, we teach music and physical education in our schools. If you don’t like it, leave. If you want to live under sharia law, go back to the hellhole country you came from or go to another hellhole country that lives under sharia law,”

    Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar – Pakistan born social scientist member of the Muslim Canadian Congress and professor emeritus of sociology at Mount Royal University in Calgary.


    “Do you not understand that building a mosque at Ground Zero is equivalent to permitting a Serbian Orthodox Church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 6,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered?”

    Raheel Raza – On behalf of the Muslim Canadian Congress

    “The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) is asking Ottawa to introduce legislation to ban the wearing of masks, niqabs and the burka in all public dealings.The MCC statement regretted that while the rest of the world is moving toward the goal of gender equality, right here in Canada Islamists are pushing back the clock, convincing educated Muslim women, they are no more than sexual objects and a source of sin, if they reveal their faces in public.”

    Muslim Canadian Congress

    ‘That (multiculturalism) is the biggest disaster to happen to Britain since World War II. It has given the extremist mullahs the green light for radicalism and segregation. We have to, we must, adjust to British society. And we can do so without losing our faith.’

    Dr Taj Hargey – chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford and the imam of the Summertown Islamic Congregation in Oxford

    • Enrique

      Tony, I would like the quotes to be more current. The idea is not to collect quotes from all time but ones during the week or couple of weeks at the most. Something that follows a debate.