The act conceding Jews residing in Finland full civil rights came into force 90 years ago after a hard and long struggle on the 12th of January 1918. Here is some background information on Jewish/Finnish history:
The territory that is now Finland was until 1809 part of the Swedish Kingdom, where Jews were allowed to settle in only three centres – none of which were within the boundaries of modern Finland. Swedish law remained in place even after Finland was absorbed into the Russian Empire.
Some Jews, however, came to Finland as Russian soldiers (so-called ‘Cantonists’), and these men and their families were allowed to stay temporarily in Finland after their discharge following 25 years of service. By the end of the 19th century other Jews had been given special status and allowed to reside there, too; but usually only for limited periods and in specified places. By the end of the 1880s there were about a thousand Jews living in Finland.
Only when Finland attained independence in 1917 did Jews receive civil rights. On 22 December 1917, Parliament approved an Act – promulgated on 12 January 1918 – concerning ‘Mosaic Confessors’. Under the Act, Jews could for the first time become Finnish nationals, while Jews not possessing Finnish nationality would be treated equally to other foreigners in the eyes of the law.
This is a perfect opportunity to point out the fact that, the current status of Muslims and Islam in Europe today, couldn’t be any more different from the situation Jews faced over a century ago. In all honesty there is simply no comparison, other than not belonging to the religion of the majority.
The Tundra Tabloids sends its best wishes to the Jewish Community in Finland, in honour of their 90 year celebration of full and equal rights as Finnish citizens. May all other religious and ethnic minorities in Finland look to their fine example, and be as proud of their citizenship and of Finnish culture as Finland’s Jews are.
By the way, both Jewish and Muslim Tatar Finns are as proud of their Finnish cultural heritage as they are of their own ethnic background. Both groups are praiseworthy as model Finnish citizens. More info here as well. *L* KGS