Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric The leader of the Finns Party Timo Soini.

The Finns Party (previously known as True Finns) appeared in the news frequently concerning the issue of xenophobia and controversial statements. On February 19. Tommi Rautio, a member of Koylio city council, audaciously condoned the murder of a migrant worker of a pizza parlour in the city of Oulu on Facebook. He further stated that he would like to award a medal to the murderer: “There is a war going on, and medals are given out in the time of war” he posted.

In April 2012, Helena Eronen, the assistant of J. Hirvisaari, one of the The Finns party members, wrote a blog entry in which she suggested that foreigners should wear identifying symbols on their sleeves. In fact, she even devised symbols for different nationalities to have embroidered on their clothes: a moon crescent for Muslims, hammer and sickle for Russians, a hamburger for the USA citizens. Eventually, however she was forced to resign, despite J. Hirvisaari’s attempts to defend her actions.

Towards the end of September, Amon Rautiainen, one of The Finns Party candidates for Kotka city council, posted on Facebook that they should “boil the Muslims alive”. He further commented that it would be a “patriotic act” to remove the Prime Minister of Finland Jurki Katainen and the Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen. Amon Rautiainen later stated that his claims were written due to “a fit of rage”.

The leaders of The Finn Party, however, respond to racism by merely imposing minimal penalties. For example, J. Halla-Aho, received no additional sanctions other than a fine for his xenophobic Facebook posts. Another party member, T. Rautio, was ousted from the party, yet it was claimed that the reasons for his expulsion were not related to racism.

However, xenophobia is not isolated to The Finn Party as it is recorded that members of other parties have also expressed xenophobia. On November 6, Saul Schuback, senior vice-president of a youth organisation affiliated with the National Coalition Party, stated that the Finnish government should abolish child benefits. The justification for this statement was that according to Schuback it is illogical to support the interbreeding of the weak and “be surprised that alcoholic parents have children that are addicted to drugs”, thus supporting social Darwinism.

On January 14th, 2013 municipal deputy from the party “True Finns” Mika Hiltunen, wrote in his blog that the Somali immigrants in Finland are “tramps who rape and beat people”, and that is why they “should remain in Africa”.

On January 18th Member of Parliament of Finland from the “True Finns” Yames Hirvisaari said in his blog that “rape is a genetic feature of some cultures”, and that they were popular entertainment for some nations and therefore demanded the deportation of Somali immigrants from Finland.

On January 17th member of the party’s council Kai Haavisto proposed in his blog “Uusi Suomi” (New Finland) to conduct a special treatment for certain groups of migrants, allegedly prone to sexual violence.

On March 28th, it became known that a member of the city council in the city of Vaasa from the “True Finns” party Risto Helin donated an outdoor clock with ultra-swastika and a portrait of Hitler to a local club. In the interview with Swedish news channel Yle R. Helin said: “I do not see anything wrong with that. I'm not racist and not a Nazi”.

On August 16th a member of the Finnish Parliament from the “True Finns” Teuvo Hakkarinen called immigrants a burden for Finland and accused the Muslims of being a “Trojan horse” and ready to “engage in jihad.”

On August 29th, it became known that the “True Finns” collected 50 000 signatures demanding to cancel the compulsory study of the Swedish language in schools . One of the provincial leaders of “True Finns” Esko Saastamoinen from Lieksa in September asked the city administration for a meeting room of the party. Upon learning that the proposed building is used by Somalis with the same goals, he made another request to “clean the place”.

On September 23rd an MP from the party “True Finns” Jussi Halla-Aho said, referring to the admission of five hundred Syrian refugees that “the state should not spend money on such minor problems”. He also said that the refugees would provoke riots: “It's only a matter of time before the refugees in Finland will cause unrest, as it happened in other major cities of Europe”.

In late April 2014, leader of True Finns Timo Soini spoke against immigrants from Southern Europe. He compared the state of affairs in these countries to Finland during the war and wondered if immigrants from these countries have the right to leave their respective homelands during economic hardships.

Another member of this party, Jussi Halla-aho, said in May that migrant workers from Estonia are harming the Finnish economy. According to him, even if they are paying taxes, they take large portions of their earnings out of Finland, while the Finnish welfare system is giving out benefits to their families. Timo Soini supported his party colleague and said that it unfair that the Finnish state should pay social benefits to children of foreign workers, who do not even live in Finland. He added that some Finnish employers are using this system as “bonuses” to wages.

Shortly before European Elections, the True Finns party published a “Guide to EU Directives”. Some experts believe that the guide has racist overtones and is essentially aimed against minorities.

On September 9, Ari Jalonen MP from True Finns and Sauli Ahvenjarvi from Christian Democratic Party made a joint statement, saying that Finland should only accept Christian refugees to avoid recruitment into terrorist organisations. They believe that Finland should focus on cultural and religious factors when accepting refugees and provide asylum only to those who is able to integrate.

On September 12, third deputy chairman of the True Finns party, MP Juho Eerola demanded to tighten the rights of immigrants to free translation services. He thinks that the unlimited right to translation and interpretation discourages immigrants from learning the Finnish language.

On October 13, head of the Defence Committee of the Finnish Parliament and a True Finns MP Jussi Niinisto proposed prohibiting Russians from buying real estate in Finland unless Russia provides Finns with a similar right. “The government should monitor who buys what. In crisis situations, presence of foreign landowners can have a significant impact. Therefore, knowing who bought what and why is in the interest of Finland.”

Minister of the Interior and Chairman of the Christian Democratic Party Paivi Rasanen spoke against same-sex marriage and referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. “Men and women of legal age has the right to marriage and family without any restrictions on the grounds of race, nationality or religion”. (Article 16).

On July 28, The Finland Times published an article which claimed that the murder of three Israeli yeshiva students, which became a reason for the escalation in Gaza, was committed by Israeli intelligence rather than Hamas.

Terrorist organisation known as the Caucasus Emirate bases its website, “Caucasus Centre”, in Finland. The website has been active for more than a decade, sponsored by a Finnish national - Mikael Sturshe.

p>In May 2020, the Pirkanmaa District Court convicted and fined the former leader of the Finnish People's Party, primarily Marco de Wit, for libel, aggravated libel and ethnic agitation. During the 2019 campaign, de Wit published and distributed campaign ads claiming that all Muslims are sex offenders and posted online articles threatening Jews, refugees and asylum seekers. He was also found guilty of aggravated defamation for accusing police of sexualizing children after some officers took part in an LGBTQI+ Helsinki event in military uniform. De Wit was previously sentenced to parole for assaulting an official.

During the migration crisis, many Finnish politicians "marked" themselves with anti-migration, xenophobic rhetoric. Thus, the presidential candidate and MP from the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, future MEP Laura Huhtasaari said in her speech in January 2018 that populism is not a passing phase, but will become a “new normal”. She openly spoke out against migrants and stated that they are the reason for the growth of hatred in Finland. In 2021, on her Twitter account, she expressed her support for the police in the BLM case.

Also in 2017-18 Finnish Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko and former Interior Ministry official Päivi Nerg have made repeated claims that undocumented migrants threaten public safety. The statements came in response to a warning by Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, that identifying refugees as a security threat "risks opening the door to xenophobic and racist rhetoric and may even lead to physical attacks against refugees." At the same time, the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilja did almost nothing to counter such xenophobic statements.

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