A group of white Finnish men and women attacked on Saturday, a New Finn and his four friends in the Southern Ostrobotnian town of Teuva in western Finland. The police, which is treating the incident as suspected aggravated assault, has not ruled out a hate crime.
The big question is not if what happened wasn’t a hate crime, but will the police see it that way.
The interior ministry defines hate crime in the following way: “A hate crime is generally taken to mean any criminal act which is motivated by prejudice or hostility against groups of people that the victim represents.”
One of the matters that becomes crystal clear when I spoke to the victim was that his ethnic background was what motivated the suspects to act in such a hostile way.
At one point in the interview, the victim was at a loss of words trying to catch his breath from the horrible incident.
“When they dragged me out of the car, one held me by the neck and another hit me yelled ‘let’s kill this foreigner (mamu),'” he said. “They hit me really hard. I still suffer from headaches and my body aches.”
In Teuva, where the attackers had notice and approached the victim and his friends, they started to pick a fight.
“I told them that is wasn’t nice what they were doing,” the victim continued. “I asked them why do you speak in that way to us because we don’t want any problems.”
The victim and the passengers decided to leave, but the attackers jumped on the hood of the care and would not get off until later.
“After that incident [in Teuva], I noticed that 4-5 cars were following us [on a country road],” he said. “They sped up and kept harassing us on the road until we noticed that they had blocked the road with another car. It was then when our car veered off the road That is when they attacked us.”
A friend of the victim had uploaded a Facebook posting of what had happened and started getting threats.
“The person who posted the comment said that we know your address and names,” he said. “I asked him if he is going to break the windows and spray [hate] graffiti on the wall. In the morning, he took down the post.”
Thank you Stacy Siivonen for the heads-up.