The documentary Seinäjoen arabikevät (Seinäjoki’s Arab Spring) was finally aired last night on Finland’s public television network, YLE2…
The viewing of last night’s documentary included a segment with a discussion panel that explored questions fielded from the viewing audience on matters involving immigration, Islam, and the Finnish government policies during that period (2015-present day). Guests included were human rights activist Anter Yasa, former government official Päivi Nerg who oversaw the refugee/asylum crisis at the time and Teemu Tammikko from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
“This documentary was the film YLE had initially refused to air because it supposedly portrayed Muslims/Islam in a bad light. The Siberian documentary film “Seinäjoki Arab Spring” tells about the refugee crisis through three different perspectives […] the migratory wave of 2015 and its aftermath in Seinäjoki. The time of the event is a few years, during which it is time to introduce the story to three people and their perspectives. In addition to the director of the Seinäjoki Reception Center, Henrik Mujusen, the main characters of the documentary are Shihab, an asylum seeker, and Antti-Jussi Hirsimäki, anti-immigration activist.”
The state broadcaster had originally withdrawn its support of the film, stating that “the content of the document did not match Yle’s expectations.” Apparently, the director’s handling of the subject material, which included criticism of Islam/open-ended immigration of Muslim asylum seekers into the country was far too delicate of subject material for the gatekeepers there to tolerate. Also thrown into the mix was the planned visit of British anti-radical Islam activist, Tommy Robinson, to the screening event. The Finnish Film Foundation, for its part, withdrew the reservation of their facility for the viewing of the documentary. Tommy ended up not coming to the screening now held in another venue, having taken ill over flu shots he received a few days earlier.
That’s the genesis of the events leading up to last night’s airing of the film.
The discussion after the documentary ended was interesting. Anter Yasa, a Finnish citizen activist and blogger, who speaks on immigration and Islam, took time to explain that all ideologies and religions, including Islam, are to be criticized. There shouldn’t be any stigmatism attached to those who challenge the ideas of Islam, deeming whoever automatically as “racist”, noting that within his own group of Muslims/atheists, etc.. that there is already a brisk debate on the subject without labeling anyone. The same should be in society at large. This is an important point.
Anter also pointed out that while he disagrees with the “rajat kiini” (close the borders) crowd, there has been a downplaying of their justified fears, labeling it as “right-wing propaganda, or calling them “islamophobes”, or even Nazis.
“These are justified fears. We have in fact had ISIS fighters come to Finland, we’ve had also militants, We’ve had fundamentalist Muslims come here, people who have no intention of integrating and such like.”
Also noting that “there are indeed others who have every intention of integrating and becoming normal citizens. That these refugees have to be heard and evaluated as to whether they’re serious or not.” The first thing, however, is for “immigrants to want to integrate, accept the values of the host country, learn the language, the norms and assimilate. Other beliefs cultures should be respected, but respect for the host country’s (laws on) equality and values should be demanded from them as well.”
What transpired between Anter Yasa and Teemu Tammikko during the discussion was, however the most memorable and telling. Asked about a poll in which the majority of people responding stated that radical Islam was their number one worry, even more so than “Climate Change”, the UPI researcher began talking exclusively about terrorism, security, and the decline of the number of attacks in Europe.
Anter challenged him.
“Again we see that when radical Islam is brought up, a researcher speaks about terrorism. Radical Islam, Islam doesn’t become bad just at the moment of terrorism, but there’s something troubling before that. Radical Islam means female inequality, a lack of child rights, even the suppression of men’s rights. The problem doesn’t occur just when something explodes or someone is stabbed or someone does something. The problem is that under the surface there is so much, that it goes unobserved when terrorism isn’t happening. We have the right to speak about these things.”
“We have to remember that the first victim of radical Islam, is Muslims, not you or you, but Muslims themselves, liberal, moderate Muslims.”
The presenter then tries to mitigate the damage, saying that it’s a bit demeaning and ruins the spirit of the discussion to refer to him (Tammikko) as “the researcher”, as to blame him for the problem. Yasa responds that:
“I’m not blaming anyone, but it’s very difficult to take seriously this kind of rhetoric. Downplaying these issues, of which you’re noted for (Tammikko raises his eyebrows), I’ve read them.
- Finnish state broadcaster YLE demanding all Islam-critical discussion in Seinäjoen Arabikevät asylum documentary to be scrubbed before they air it on national TV…….
- UPDATED (3.2 2019) Finland: Tommy Robinson, screening of Asylum documentary, media hyperbole…….
- Finland: Helsingin Sanomat calls Tommy Robinson “far-right, “incites violence, hatred towards ethnic group” in hit piece on tomorrow’s documentary event he’s attending…….
- Tommy Robinson is coming to Finland to speak on Muslim ‘Grooming Gangs’ at preview of asylum seeker/refugee documentary film…….