National Coalition Party chairperson Petteri Orpo tweets that “I condemn the vandalism against the Turku Synagog and I’m satisfied that the Turku city council signed a motion [condemning] what happened.”
Orpo’s support is important, but the question that arises from what happened is if there are different scales of importance when it comes to vandalism motivated by hate.
When the Resalat Shia mosque in Eastern Helsinki was in March when it was vandalized with hate graffiti a day before the Christchurch mosque shootings, no politician expressed outrage.
This is a sad example of political hypocrisy even if both cases are equally alarming.
Another matter that does not seem right in Orpo’s condemnation is his anti-immigration track record when he was interior minister and later finance minister.
Below are some of the questionable matters that Orpo and the previous government (2015-2019) of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä “had to be reviewed” in the face of an “unseen wave” of asylum seekers that came in 2015:
- Free legal representation restricted to applicants who required exceptional grounds for assistance;
- Deadline for appeals was lowered from 30 to 21 days after a second rejection and to 14 days after the third rejection;
- The government tightened appeal times in the hope of ejecting asylum seekers faster from Finland;
- There were further administrative restrictions and practical difficulties making the application process more complicated;
- Tightened family reunification laws;
- No time limit on detaining families with children in immigration removal centers like Joutseno and Metsälä;
- Lack of government leadership in tackling Islamophobia and racism contributed to Finland’s hostile environment affecting migrants and inhumane immigration policy.
Finnish politicians like Orpo condemn racist acts with one hand but with another encourage them.