Racism and hate speech are social ills that have spread like wildfire in Finland. Racists in Finland come from the same place than other racists in other countries. It is unacceptable that in a country like Finland, which prides itself as a modern Nordic welfare state, that racism and hate speech can see another day with near-impunity.
Finland will hold municipal elections on Sunday and there are a number of minority candidates running for city council. YLE reported that two municipal candidates of Helsinki, Green Party MP Ozan Yanar and Suldaan Said Ahmed of the Left Alliance, have received death threats as well as a constant barrage of racist abuse.
Kerava city council candidate, Shamsul Alam of the Left Alliance, has had to take his share of racist attacks. He has turned to the police to file charges against his attackers but neither has he heard from them nor his attackers been quieted and brought to justice.
The businessman from Bangladesh, who has lived in Finland for seven years, was brought to my attention by a Green Party candidate from the same city, Zoila Forss, who has faced as well her generous share of racist abuse.
The question we should be asking ourselves is why does this type of hate speech persist? Why aren’t we hearing any strong condemnation from the government and other politicians? Is it because part of this hate speech emanates from the halls of power?
Silence is a political statement as well.
“I’m not too hopeful that justice will be brought against these people,” said Alam. “Apart from racism, why do these people attack me in such a way?”
The Left Alliance candidate has two children under the age of 7 years and he’s worried about their safety.
“I’m really very concerned about the safety of my children and must take steps to protect them,” he continued. “We still have to challenge racism and one of the best ways is to expose it in the media.”
“Even so, the government and politicians must speak out as well,” he added. “The police have yet to act on the racist harassment I have received.”
Apart from the police, what is the responsibility of social media multinational companies like Facebook in spreading such hatred and racism?
We wish Alam the best of luck in the municipal elections and are saddened by all the racist flack he has had to endure.
He’s the brave face of the new Finland, no question about that.
Kerava is a city located about 30km north of Helsinki. In this ad, Alam states that he wants to bring the opinions of migrants to the city council and that more resources should be put in integration schemes. The right to equal education of children and youths should be guaranteed.
One of Alam’s harassers. He tells him to f**k off and go back to his own country and teach his own kind.
Fake profiles, sickening comments abound on Facebook against people who exercise their civil rights.
One of Alam’s harassers shows his Nazi colors.