“That’s the central issue, people who want to be here need to accept our core values: democracy, equality, human rights and all of that. If they don’t, they can’t stay in Finland.”
President Sauli Niinistö in Yle News
During the many years I have written about President Sauli Niinistö, he has always disappointed me. For me, he represents a Finland where time will steamroll over it. If you read many of his comments throughout the years, one matter stands out like a sore thumb: He does not like anti-racism activists, Muslims, and minorities like people of color.
Instead of uniting all the people in this country from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, his populism gets the better of him.
There are many examples, like when he addressed parliament in 2020. Without mentioning radical-right parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, he warned about the rise of “anti-Semitism and racism.” There is nothing wrong with that, but what was odd was he did not mention a word about Muslims and Islamophobia.
Islam is Finland’s second-biggest religion, with 120,000-130,000 followers.
A good example that he does not respect cultural diversity is the following statement he made in 2018, which is the worst of the worst.
One can quickly notice that what President Niinistö said about the Iraqi is misleading. Finland is a country that guarantees people the right to their cultures and public spaces to practice them. There is no reason to run to one’s home and practice culture inside four walls.
Another important question to President Niinistö: Is everyone in Finland equal before the law? What are you doing to promote such a vital value?
With comments like the above, President Niinistö ends up with his foot in his mouth whenever he comments about cultural diversity and asylum seekers, usually Muslims and people from Africa.
In his New Year’s speech, President Niinistö did not disappoint us. Like in an earlier statement about the alleged threat of youth gangs and how we’re on Sweden’s dangerous path, he gave the opposition more fuel.
“However, it is high time to wake up to internal security as well,” he said. “Finland is an open and tolerant country. In this kind of thinking we may have gone further than other Nordic countries, maybe even further than the whole world. That entails a lot of good things. But being the most tolerant of all also has its pitfalls. Namely, evil is good at finding the one that is the most lenient of all. In the Nordic countries, the direction is now towards strengthening public order and the safety of individuals.”
What is President Niinistö implying? Is he stating that brown and black youths are “evil” and are taking advantage of our goodwill?
The fact that President Niinistö likes to make these types of xenophobic populist statements proves that he never was, is, or will be the president of our ever-growing culturally diverse communities.
Fortunately, Finland will hold presidential elections in 2024.
- Finnish President Sauli Niinistö’s disinformation bubble about racism and Others (Aug. 26, 2019)
- Presidentti Sauli Niinistön sitaatit maahanmuutosta ja moninaisuudesta paljastavat jotain ikävää hänestä (May 2, 2019)
- The words and silence of politicians have dire consequences in Finland for us (Aug. 23, 2017)
- The two extremes claim by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and the government is nothing more than an Okie from Muskogee (Mar. 23, 2017)
- The anti-immigration narrative of politicians, the police and President Sauli Niinistö is no mistake (Feb. 6, 2016)
- President Sauli Niinistö claims that migrants pose a threat to western values (Feb. 3, 2016)
- President Sauli Niinistö’s “ultimatum” to asylum seekers should apply to Finns as well (Dec. 5, 2015)
- Europe is slowly waking up to the humanitarian refugee crisis in Europe (Sept. 4, 2015)
- What President Sauli Niinstö forgets to state when he claims that migrants should “do as the Romans do” (Oct. 19, 2015)
- Dana: Why doesn’t President Sauli Niinistö care about immigrants? What’s his stance on racism? (Oct. 23, 2013)