Finland’s government is facing a new crisis after a series of racist and violent comments written by Rika Pura, leader of the far-right Finns Party, deputy prime minister and finance minister, were published on a blog belonging to a fellow party.
Minister He admitted on social networks who blogged: “At that time I expressed myself in ways and words that I absolutely do not accept or use today.” The comments were posted in 2008 on the blog of former far-right leader and current president of Eduskunta (Finland’s parliament), Jussi Hala-Aho, who was convicted in 2012 of crimes against religious peace after publishing Islamophobic views about him.
Although the minister acknowledged that he was blogging, he did not explicitly admit that he was behind the user ‘Riikka’, which the Finnish media has associated with the leader of the Ultra Party. In the texts, the author refers to blacks with the derogatory term “neekers”, calls Muslims “mocha penises” and immigrants from Turkey “Turkish monkeys”.
“If any of you are in Helsinki, will anyone sign up to see the beggars being spat on and black children beaten?” he wrote on a blog forum in July 2008. Two months later, he published a “post” in which he claimed that if they gave him a gun, “there would be dead bodies even on the passenger train.”
“Taken out of context and evaluated today, some texts look even worse. I do not accept any form of violence, racism or discrimination. Those who know my way of working and my values know this,” the minister said in his public apology. “I apologize for my stupid online comments 15 years ago and the hurt and resentment they clearly caused.”
According to Pura, at the time she was “very frustrated” with certain aspects of immigration in Finland, such as sexual violence against women and gender inequality in Islam, so she could write “angry and stupid” at times.
“Years after those comments, I got involved in politics. I act and communicate differently. I hope that my work in politics will be evaluated according to what I do in my positions of trust as a parliamentarian, minister and party president,” he said.
The issue sparked a major scandal in the country just ten days after far-right Economy Minister Wilhelm Junila was forced to resign after less than two weeks in office over alleged links to neo-Nazi groups.
“I think the Finnish government would do well to take a clear stance of zero tolerance towards racism. If that happens, it will be a good sign for the world,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told reporters on Tuesday from Lithuania, where he is attending a NATO summit.
For his part, conservative Prime Minister Petri Orpo assured local media that he does not accept racism “in any form” and confirmed that the four parties that make up the government coalition are committed to equality and principles. Capital.
Orpo was satisfied with the explanation offered by his main government partner, the Finnish party leader, and said it was necessary for Pura to publicly distance himself from the violence.
Source: El Diario