The detention of five far-right terrorist suspects in the western Finnish city of Kankaanpää Friday raises many questions. One of these is the collaboration of this group and others in the burning down of an asylum reception center in December 2015.
The asylum reception center in Kankaanpää wasn’t the only one that suffered arson attacks.
Former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP, Ano Turtiainen, was convicted in 2018 for inciting violence against the Finnish Red Cross, which manages many asylum reception centers. The conviction has its roots in a 2015 Facebook post “liked” by PS MEP Laura Huhtasaari.
Moreover, it would be wishful and careless thinking to believe that the terrorist suspects in Kankaanpää acted alone and were totally detached from society.
Mihai Varga hit it right on the dot: “The main agents of ideological violence are not isolated ‘lone wolves’ but are usually interconnected with communities, non-violent agents and legal entities, at times even including connections to law enforcement personnel.”
For those who don’t remember, a building going to house asylum seekers was set alight was burned down in December 2015 in Niinisalo, located a stone’s throw from Kankaanpää. Perussuomalaiset MP Juho Mäenpää, elected to parliament in 2019 but a member of the Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu association, claimed jubilantly back then after the arson attack: “Great. There is a god. My prayers have been answered.”
I interviewed Mäenpää after the attack.
“Politicians should wake up to the situation,” he told Migrant Tales in December 2015, “if they don’t it could spark a civil war.”
Possibly the bigger question is why we don’t know more about the police investigation of the arson attack and if they questioned any suspects.
Considering the prevailing anti-immigration atmosphere in Finland and that too many police gave tacit approval to such vigilante groups like the far-right Soldiers of Odin, suggests that there was not too much enthusiasm to investigate arson and other acts of violence against asylum seekers.
A 2016 opinion poll revealed that close to 80% of the police considered asylum seekers as the biggest threat to the country.