Islam in Finland



The problem is Islam, not individuals.

There’s a couple of interesting points in the following article from Finland’s biggest Swedish language newspaper, the HBL (h/t: Holger Danske) highlighting Tartars in Finland, in this case, funeral rites and services. What’s worth drawing your attention to, are the differences shown between Muslim communities, inside and outside of Finland. Bear with me. In the article, it’s pointed out that:

Muslims tend to follow the customs of the country where they live.  

That statement needs to be qualified, in that, if Islamic texts always produced people like the Tartars of Finland, we wouldn’t be having to deal with public displays of sharia, Islamization, nor the violent jihad which is trying to institute them. They would naturally  be following the laws and customs of the land. That’s a fact. 
What is also a fact, is that the koran produces intolerance, misogyny, anti-Semitism and general hatred of the other leading to violence, including local vigilantism in keeping the community in check. When these small Islamic communities are far removed from the epic center of that Islamic thinking and influence as well as from their notions of Islamic ascendancy, the more prone they’re to behave like the non-Muslim society in which they live. This is especially true when their numbers are extremely minute.

Actual Tartars in Finland number about the same as Finnish Jews, around 1500 or so, in population of +5 million. Then there is this portion that caught my eye, which goes to further highlight the major differences between themselves and recent Muslim groups that have arrived in Finland through immigration and asylum policies:

Still, there are major cultural differences in terms of both burial and ceremonies. Some cultures have gender-separated funerals, men separately and women separately. A Tartar cemetery is open to all.   […]

I have never experienced any problems Tatar and Muslim in Finland. We’re like any other except that we have a different religion, says Safiulla.

The question remaining however is, will the Tartars of Finland retain their modernist-liberal views in the wake of all the new comers from intolerant Muslim lands? The worrisome aspects of their arrival are all around them. Some years ago, back in December of 2009, I was forwarded a piece of news from my old time tipster, Kumitonttu, about an incident that happened during a funeral of a Christian convert from Islam.

The relatives of a deceased man violently interrupted his Christian funeral, wiping off the Christian cross of sand from his coffin at the grave site, and began reciting Islamic prayers in front of the horrified crowd of mourners. These are the types of people now among us, and pose the greatest challenge to the Tartar community. It will be interesting to see just how they fare with their co-religionists, or do they automatically maintain a cordon sanitaire between their communities, regardless of their shared symbols.


Published:3/27/2013 07:16 Updated:27/03/2013 09:56

So bury a Muslim in Finland

Peter Al Fakir It is not always easy as a Muslim to find its place in Finland. Not even after death. Lack of burial sites and premises suitable for ritual washing puts a heavy burden on families. But there is a big difference between the Muslim community. The Finnish Tatars have lived in Finland for hundreds of years and has its own cemetery.

The snow lies thick over the graves in Hietaniemi Tatar cemetery in Helsinki. In front of a black stone is a grave lantern and a bouquet of flowers. Cingiz Safiulla takes painstaking steps in the snow and corrects front of the tomb. The flowers will remain.

– We do not use candles in the Islamic tradition, but flowers are accepted, says Safiulla.


Nowadays it is more Tatar funerals than weddings for pensioner Safiulla participating in parish cemetery committee. The bulk of his professional life, he worked for Siemens, including the Credit. Efforts to give parishioners a dignified funeral is an honor.

You have to be ready to play. A Muslim must be buried as soon as possible, preferably the same day if possible. The families can receive support from the mosque with advice and practical help. The church has even arranged so there is a person who can dig a grave at short notice.

– Sometimes it is so fast that we do not have time to notify members through the obituaries in the newspapers. Instead, we send out an sms with the details when someone dies.

Most often die old in one hospital and then the doctor writes a death certificate, which is valid as an authorization for the funeral.


– When my son died, we managed to bury him within two days, which was a relief for me. It is certainly difficult for Christians who are forced to wait a month at the funeral. We can begin the grieving process right away, says Safiulla.

The actual funeral ceremony always takes place outdoors, even if it’s freezing cold or raining cats and dogs.

On Hietaniemi is a podium in red granite where the coffin to rest and place for the bereaved to ask around. According to the Tatar custom repeating the total 77 times the first few lines of the Creed, laa ilaaha illallah, there is only one god, Allah.

The Imam then leads the funeral prayer janazah, but it can be any Muslim that can be ritual well. Islam is not as hierarchical as Christianity. After the prayer, the imam asks all present if the deceased was a good person and ask everyone to forgive the one who died.

The dead are placed so that the right cheek is facing Mecca. Cremation is prohibited.

Normally not used coffins in Islam but because the graves are so deep in Finland, it is easier to bring down the body in a decent way if it is in a coffin. Muslims tend to follow the customs of the country where they live.

The coffin is borne any of the closest relatives, children and grandchildren.


A Muslim funeral should be simple. Instead of buying expensive caskets or gaudy headstones should rather donate money to Islamic charities. Suffice it really that grave is marked only by a small hill, memorial plaque or stone is redundant.

Still, there are major cultural differences in terms of both burial and ceremonies. Some cultures have gender-separated funerals, men separately and women separately. A Tartar cemetery is open to all.

Tombstones at Hietaniemi are either red or black.Some have inscriptions in Arabic letters, but they are basically all the same size. A bit on the side of a small stone with Cyrillic. It is one of the first Tartars who were buried in Finland. The snow covers the years.

Tartars came up with the Russian army throughout the 1800s and stayed temporarily with their regiments, but from around 1870 to the time of World War settled more Tatars in Finland.

– My parents textile dealer and came 1914th At first they lived in Lahti, Kotka and Järvenpää says Safiulla.

The congregation of about 850 members has a mosque on Frederick Street in Helsinki, which is open to all on Fridays. Otherwise, the church exclusively for their own group.

Culture and religion is very important to the Tatars, whose ancestors came from a small area around the Muslim village Aktuk, located near Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Parents teach children Tatar at home and it’s pretty unique that it has managed to retain the original language even after several generations minority.

– I have never experienced any problems as Tatar and Muslim in Finland. We’re like any other except that we have a different religion, says Safiulla.

Until the fifties was the Tatars the largest group of Muslims in northern Europe, but today there are over 50,000 Muslims in Finland. There are thousands of people that will one day need cemetery. The needs are urgent.

Safiulla has been involved in these issues and written a informationsbok of the Finnish health care about what makes made at a Muslim’s death.

He co-organized a cemetery in Kirkkonummi 1996, mainly for the new immigrants Muslims, but the 135 seats will soon have been used. Thanks to the assistance of the Central Board and the Ministry of Education realized the cemetery when need was greatest.

– In the beginning there was a resistance to Muslim cemeteries. When we would inaugurate the place was a journalist in the local press wrote that it would now bury terrorists Kirkkonummi. Today the situation is much better.

Read more in today’s newspaper

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