To Finland from a Pakistani family: A second letter about hate crime*

by , under Enrique Tessieri, Pakistani family

Migrant Tales (MT) insight: In mid-March, MT published a letter from a Pakistani family. The victim, the father of the family, was brutally attacked on February 23 by three white Finnish youths. The victim and his wife believe that what happened was a hate crime. The police disagree. According to the wife, the police called her the following day after the Pakistani migrant was attacked and stated that it was not a hate crime because “the suspects were intoxicated.” 

I met the family again at the end of last month at noon at the hospital. It was so lovely to see them together: the wife, baby, and their four-year-old daughter in the company of their father, who was recovering and in much better condition since the last time I saw him. 

Since I have two granddaughters, I started a conversation with the eldest daughter about what cartoons she likes to watch.  “PJ Masks and Benny and Holly!” she replied without hesitation.

I asked the wife and her husband, if they wished, to write a letter about how their lives had changed after February 23. 

Below is the letter that also includes their feelings about charging the three white Finnish youths of attempted murder

What was surprising in the police statement was that the charges had been changed from manslaughter to attempted murder. 

It will be interesting to see how they pin murder charges on the three youths. The only matter that was apparently stolen from the victim was his cellphone. 


Dear Finland,

It is difficult to put into words how this event had changed my family’s life. Change is a small word to describe what happened.

The terrible incident that caused by husband to almost die after he was attacked by three youths has made us extremely uncertain about life and people. We moved to Finland from Pakistan so we could live in a secure country. We did not find security but the total opposite of it.

My [four-year-old] daughter asked me many times when my husband was in the hospital when her father will come home. She missed her father so much. She asked many times what had happened to her father. My daughter hears about the topic a lot when I speak on the phone. At the hospital she would burst into tears every time the nurses injected her father.

My husband feels better and returned to our new home. We moved out of our old apartment in Vantaa because it brought all of us terrible memories and we did not feel safe there.

The attackers used a knife, ax and pointed object to stab and hit the victim. When stabbing the calf muscle, the suspect did not remove the knife but slashed part of the leg in the process. Without getting into more detail, it took four hours to remove the victim’s stitches. The violence of the crime raises questions. Attempted murder? Hate crime? At least no longer manslaughter. Photo: Enrique Tessieri.
The bloodstains of the victim were on the snow 20 days after the attack. Source: Helsinki Times.

My husband said that if anyone has hate in his heart and consumes drugs and alcohol, “intoxication” should not be an excuse for committing a hate crime.

The police called us the following day after what happened to my husband. The first question I asked the police if it was a hate crime. They said it wasn’t because the suspects were intoxicated.

My husband is concerned about the role of intoxication and the problem it has on the youth of Finland. The authorities must take more control of the problem so it will not cause the same damage and suffering we experienced on other people.

What happened to my husband is a dangerous warning for other migrants in Finland. We should to everything possible to make sure that such a vile crime does not happen ever again.

The crime my husband suffered brings memories of the United States, where people are becoming more aware of gun control laws. After so much loss of life, people are protesting and demanding stricter gun control laws.

Another matter I would like to state is that after 20 days that they removed my husband’s bloodstains on the snow. I contacted the police and requested them to remove the bloodstains. I even turned to the social workers. Every time we passed that dreadful place outside our home my daughter asked whose blood it was.

The removal of the bloodstains should have happened immediately after the crime. If you ask the hospital staff, they will tell you that they have never seen such a terrible attack and stabbing against anyone.

It surprises my husband and I why the Finnish media is so silent about what happened. Is it because what happened was not a hate crime, according to the police? The media should try to know all sides of the story.

Moreover, nobody had approached us at the hospital about what happened except for one anti-racist NGO who visited my husband. My husband is happy about this and that there is concern for what happened to him. Even so, we are wondering where are those human rights and Red Cross people.

The police stated that they are going to charge the three youths with attempted murder.  We still believe it was a hate crime.


A Pakistani family

* The Criminal Code of Finland does not recognize the term “hate crime.” Section 5 states that a basis for increasing punishment (564/2015) is if the “offense for a motive based on race, skin color, birth status, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability or another corresponding grounds.”

The letter was slightly edited.




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