Public discourse in Finnish online forums and blogs written by far-right elements and Finns Party MPs suggest that immigration is the biggest problem in Finland, but a closer look at Finnish society reveals more pertinent issues that people on the far-right of the political divide ignore, including domestic violence, family killings and violence against women and children.
Populist Finns Party members lead the way in fanning flames of hate against immigrants and other minorities in Finland. They slam immigrants and refugees and portray Muslims as villains. MPs like James Hirvisaari and Jussi Halla-aho have been convicted by Finnish courts for inciting hatred, but they remain defiant. Another notorious MP from the populist right-wing Finns Party, Teuvo Hakkarainen, more recently wrote a controversial blog post in which he described Muslims in Turku as the "worst Jihadists". It's worthy to remember that Hakkarainen used the n-word to describe people of African descent in a video interview on his first day in parliament.
From writings and utterances of Finns Party lawmakers (who also happen to be lawbreakers), you would think that immigration is the most serious problem in Finland.
In my view, there are bigger fishes to fry in Finnish society.
Numerous women and children have been killed in Finland as a result of domestic and family violence and the authorities have not done enough to arrest the problem.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, 55 people - including 48 children have been killed since 2003 as a result of family murders and the authorities have not acted adequately. For example, verbal threats of violence are usually not taken seriously. Helsingin Sanomat gathered 11 cases of family murders since 2011 - the most recent being a twin murder in Jyväskylä in August 2013.
The list of family murders doesn't include the 1 September 2013 case where a Finnish man killed his immigrant wife and seriously wounded her three-year-old daughter with a handgun, nor the 15 June 2013 killing of an Estonian woman in broad daylight by her Finnish partner in a parking lot in Helsinki's west harbor.
By my rough count, there have been three cases of family-related murders in less than three months this year - resulting in death of three women. This, in my assessment, is a more serious societal problem than immigration.
Finns Party MPs and other proponent of extreme views shared by Norway's mass murderer Anders Breivik shouldn't waste durable time in parliament taking cheap shots at immigrants and refugees. They should focus on tackling crippling societal problems like alcoholism, domestic violence and family killings.
A disturbing report revealed that a homicide is committed in Finland every third day. Majority of the perpetrators are discriminated, unemployed and alcoholic men. According to the report, more homicides are committed in Finland than in any other Nordic country.
MPs like Hakkarainen, Hirvisaari and Halla-aho focus on inciting hatred and shy away from discussing life-threatening problems that plague their constituencies. Perhaps, given their track record, the MPs would address the issues if perpetrators were mostly Muslims, immigrants, Roma or other minorities.
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