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Finland’s Islamic Community Demands Government Take Concrete Steps Towards “Zero Tolerance” of Racism

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A group of Islamic communities and organisations in Finland have issued a joint statement calling on the government to take concrete steps towards achieving “zero tolerance” on racism.

“We call on the Finnish government and especially Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) to be more active in condemning the normalisation of open hate speech and to act to eradicate racist thinking,” the statement reads.

The phrase “zero tolerance” has been much reported and discussed in Finnish media over the past week after President Sauli Niinistö said the Finnish government “would be wise to adopt a clear zero-tolerance stance on racism” in response to racist and violent comments written by Finance Minister and Deputy PM Riikka Purra (Finns) on a blog in 2008.

PM Orpo repeated the phrase during a joint press conference held with Purra last week, as the government parties moved to respond to the controversy surrounding the Finns Party leader’s comments.

“In such a serious matter, nothing should be left open to interpretation,” the Islamic communities’ statement added.

The statement also referenced comments Purra wrote on her own blog in 2019 criticising how Muslim women dress, which the Islamic organisations described as racist, degrading and discriminatory in tone.

Purra has apologised for the comments she wrote in 2008, but has not issued an apology for the 2019 text on her own blog.

PM Orpo said he has discussed the 2019 blog post with Purra, adding that he himself would not use the same language that Purra used in the text.

The statement — which has been signed by a total of 26 Islamic communities and organisations — also cited Finland’s law on freedom of religion, meaning everyone has a right to practice their own religion.

“This includes the freedom to dress according to one’s religion,” the statement noted.

Source: Yle

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