I can vouch for the security system that’s in place at the front of the synagogue and community center, having passed through those gates on many occasions, it’s indeed extensive, and necessary. Just a few years ago there was antisemitic graffiti placed on the doors to the Israeli embassy, as well as threatening messages delivered to the Jewish community itself and to the local kosher store in the area.
The first thing he did when he took office as head of security was to contact the police and ask them to investigate whether the Islamist terrorist organizations have gained a foothold in Finland. – Then they laughed at me, said Martin.
Svenska/YLE.fi: In March, three children were shot to death outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. Just a month ago the Jewish community in Malmö was exposed to an arson attack. Nothing like this has ever happened in Finland, but the possibility should not be ruled out, says the head of security at the Helsinki Jewish congregation.
Head of Security, who I choose to call Martin, moved to Helsinki straight from Malmö in 2007. The first thing he did when he took office as head of security was to contact the police and ask them to investigate whether the Islamist terrorist organizations have gained a foothold in Finland.
– Then they laughed at me, said Martin.
A few years later freelance journalist Wali Hashi did a story about how young immigrants were recruited to Al-Shabaab – even here in Finland.
The Jewish community in Helsinki is investing approximately EUR 100 000 annually on security.The sum represents about ten percent of the community’s annual budget. This is still seen as a necessity.
The children who attend the Jewish school which is located on the community’s premises must pass through two ports daily. Even if they go out on tour, they shall be accompanied by a security guard.
– We advise our members not to wear a kippa fully visible in town because of the fear of verbal abuse against them, says Martin.
“People have shaped their hands into a weapon and shot at us”
The Jewish community in Kamppi, Helsinki, is subject to intimidation on an average of six to ten times a month.
– It can include verbal threats, yelling the word of greetings with far-right characters, people that shape their hands as weapons and shoot at us, says Martin.
He says that the situation of the Jews in Finland is not good.
Martin takes out a small box containing cards.
– This is a small deck that I developed, explains Martin as he lined up the cards on the table in front of us.
The cards show pictures of including a corpse outside the school in Toulouse shortly after the shooting. The next card is a picture of a man of Arab appearance. He covers the name of the man with his finger.
– This man used to stand outside our locality and film. He threatened that he would kill all who around here, describes Martin quietly.
He presented a brief in which the Norwegian Prime Minister was hugging someone shortly after the events of Utøya.
– Do we really want this to be the Prime Minister of Finland some day?