Much is at stake as Finland and Europe speeds into the depths of the new century. One of the greatest threats to our way of life and society today is hate speech and far-right ideology. Our resolve to identify and challenge these menaces is crucial during these times.
Even if the media, politicians and public opinion have preferred to remain largely silent in the face of these threats, it is an encouraging sign that our reaction as a society to such hazards is an ever-growing reaction.
One is off track if he or she believes that hate speech and intolerance only have an impact on immigrants and minorities. It would be naive to believe that the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) hasn’t impacted our country.
The shadow of the PS is clearly evident in our country: in the government’s EU and immigration policy we well as in our attitudes.
A debate taking place on social media about male circumcision is a case in point. Who else but the anti-Islam hardliners of the PS would be behind a bill to criminalize circumcision of under-fifteen-year-old male minors.
Like most arguments by a party that is openly anti-Islam, they are nothing more than red herrings and slippery slopes towards more radical measures like prohibiting Muslim women from wearing Islamic veils.
Every time a party takes steps to undermine minority rights, cultural diversity and our right to make lifestyle choices, we are eroding our civil liberties.
It is one good reason why we should challenge hate speech and intolerance.