The story behind “Finland is a racist country” is in the comments

by , under Enrique

There were quite strong reactions among some Finns and immigrants to Maryan Abdulkarim’s interview on Helsingin Sanomat. Those who strongly objected to the article, appear to want to deny Abdulkarim’s right to express herself on a touchy subject like racism. 

It’s ironic, but those who want to deny Abdulkarim her right to speak out are the very people who spread hate speech and claim there’s mass censorship in this country.

You can read Abdulkarim’s full interview in English here.

White Finns, which include some white immigrants as well, control and jealously guard the high ground over the debate in the media whether there is racism in Finland or not. Some cry murder when a black woman, who is a Finn born in Somalia and is a Muslim on top of it, speaks out against racism.

One of these is from the anti-immigration camp, Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen, who is president of the ultra-nationalist and and anti-immigration  Suomen Sisu association. He wrote on his Facebook wall that as “a native-born Finnish citizen,” he is ashamed that the country’s largest daily published the story on Abdulkarim a day before independence day celebrations.

Note how he stresses “native-born Finnish citizen.” With such a lowly punch, Immonen tries to undermine Abdulkarim’s right to voice her narrative by trying to show that she’s not a so-called “real” Finn like him. Since she’s not a real Finn, her arguments aren’t as valid as his.

Immonen takes another punch at Abdulkarim on his Facebook wall: “The article forgets to mention the view that while over 50% of Somalis [in Finland] are unemployed and are overrepresented in crime statistics of a certain sort, they are still treated in our country in a very friendly manner and offered generous social assistance, municipal housing as well as a host of other benefits from taxpayers’ pockets.”

I get it. Abdulkarim’s arguments aren’t supposed to amount to much because she’s not a real Finn and because she belongs to a group where there is a high crime and unemployment rate, according to Immonen.

The PS MP recently blamed immigrants for Finland’s poor Pisa result.

Immonen claimed on Facebook: ”The long-term work of immigration and multicultural fanatics to make Finland more ‘diverse’ has bore fruit. Immigrants played a signifiant role in [the worse] Pisa results even if consensus politicians and officials claim the contrary. The differences in reading, science and math between immigrants and Finns in the Pisa test are mind-boggling.”

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Anti-immigration politicians like Immonen, who enjoy bashing immigrants who can’t defend themselves because they aren’t white and don’t have the same political and ethnic clout as him, must be stunned and devastated by Abdulkarim.

Weren’t all those Somali women supposed to be exploited and docile servants of men?

Who should we be ashamed of? Immonen, who makes up Islamophobic tales and spreads them, which in turn fuel prejudice and social exclusion, or Abdulkarim who has the courage to speak out?

Immonen and the Finns he represents aren’t the only problem. There are white immigrants, and those who think they are white, in this country who feel the same way  about blacks, Muslims and other visible minorities.

Just because they are immigrants doesn’t mean they automatically have empathy for those who are victims of racism and discrimination. Just like Immonen capitalizes on the anti-Islam message, some immigrants seek to climb the social ladder by bashing other immigrants.

Shameful but true.

Abdulkarim’s interview on Helsingin Sanomat is one matter but the most revealing aspect of her story are the reactions to it on social media.

They confirm without a doubt that what she says is true.