Finland´s War on Free Speech (GateStone Institute) by Soeren Kern 06/11/12)
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"Stating of facts cannot and must not be criminal, even if they
offend someone." — Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, Finnish blogger
convicted of defaming Islam.
Finland´s Supreme Court has found a prominent politician guilty of
defaming Islam for "Islamophobic" comments he made on his personal
The ruling represents a major setback for free speech in a Europe
that is becoming increasingly stifled by politically correct
restrictions on free speech, particularly on issues related to Islam
and Muslim immigration.
The Helsinki-based Supreme Court ruled on June 8 that Finns Party MP
Jussi Kristian Halla-aho was guilty of "inciting hatred against an
ethnic group" for blog posts he made in 2008 which compared Islam to
paedophilia, and for sarcastic comments which insinuated that
immigrants from Somalia are predisposed to stealing and living off
In its ruling, the court said that hate speech does not fall under
the protections afforded by the freedom of speech, even though Halla-
aho said his comments were a protest against public policy and not
against Islam and Mohammed per se.
Halla-aho, who has become well known in Finland and elsewhere for his
well-argued essays criticizing multiculturalism and runaway
immigration, was ordered to pay a hefty fine and delete the comments
from his blog.
Halla-aho maintains a blog called Scripta, which deals with issues
such as "immigration, multiculturalism, tolerance, racism, freedom of
speech and political correctness." His blog attracts thousands of
readers every day, and the Tampere-based newspaper Aamulehti has
described him the best-known political blogger in Finland. Halla-
aho´s notoriety has placed the guardians of Finnish multiculturalism
on maximum alert.
In a blog post in June 2008, Halla-aho wrote that the Islamic prophet
Mohammed was a paedophile, and that Islam is a religion of
paedophilia because Mohammed had sexual intercourse with his wife,
Aisha, when she was only nine years old.
According to Halla-aho: "This sentence is related to a discussion
where I criticize the idea of the subjective offensiveness of some
sentence as being sufficient criteria for its judicial offensiveness.
In other words, if some group is offended by sentence X, sentence X
is illegal irrespective of whether it is true or not. In my opinion,
stating of facts cannot and must not be criminal, even if they offend
someone. This is also a problem of equality. For example, a Muslim is
offended by criticism of his religion far more easily than an average
Christian. If subjective offensiveness suffices as the elements of a
crime, the law protects a Muslim with greater force than it protects
He continued: "My sentences about Mohammed and Islam were not
opinions, but inescapably logical conclusions based on known facts. I
did not use the word ´paedophile´ as psychopathological concept, but
in its popular meaning of a person having sex with children. The
traditional Muslim knowledge, the Hadith literature, tells us that
Mohammed had sex with his wife Aisha when she was nine years old. A
nine-year-old is seen as a child today, and physically she was a
child in 7th century, no matter what her judicial status was.
Therefore, if Mohammed had sex with Aisha and Aisha was a child,
Mohammed had sex with a child. That Mohammed is a holy figure to
Muslims cannot make him immune to criticism in West, especially if
criticism is based on undisputed facts."
In another post, Halla-aho responded to a Finnish columnist who wrote
that drinking excessively and fighting when drunk were cultural and
possibly genetic characteristics of Finns. In order to show the
double standards of such arguments, Halla-aho asked sarcastically if
it could be stated that robbing passersby and living at the expense
of taxpayers are cultural and possibly genetic characteristics of
According to Halla-aho, "I turned the newspaper Kaleva´s sentence
into parody where ´Finns´ were replaced by ´Somalis.´ My hypothesis
was that Somalis are under the special protection of the media and
government officials, and my argument is that what is permissible to
present about Finns becomes impermissible when it is about Somalis.
My own version was as follows: ´Robbing passers-by and living as
parasites on tax money is the national, maybe even genetic
characteristic of Somalis.´"
He also wrote: "In order to poke fun at The Council for Mass Media in
Finland, I mentioned in the text that I present this argument as
supposition, not as a fact. In addition, I proved that by using crime
statistics, the argument about Somalis can be proved just as
effectively as Kaleva´s argument about Finns."
Halla-aho continued: "I emphasize that, unlike the writer of
newspaper Kaleva´s primary editorial, I didn´t present my own,
offensive argument as my opinion, but used it to criticize and insult
double standards. Factually speaking, and considering the mechanisms
of evolution, the mere thought of living as a parasite on tax funds
or killing people while intoxicated as being genetic characteristics
of some population is insane."
He concluded: "Therefore, even if I had presented the argument about
Somalis as my opinion and not as demonstrative material, the fact
that an indictment was made against me for my proposition concerning
Somalis but not against newspaper Kaleva for its proposition
concerning Finns, would be in conflict with the equality section of
Elsewhere, Halla-aho wrote: "The imams are building, on European
soil, in their mosques paid for by Europeans, a fanatic robot army
without free will, whose only task is to destroy Western society."
Later, Halla-aho also wrote -- based on the common opinion in Finland
that immigrant rapists select their victims randomly -- that they
should choose leftwing supporters of multiculturalism, since only
that would persuade them to reconsider their uncritical support for
mass immigration from Muslim countries.
In November 2008, the leftist Finnish Green Women´s Association
responded by announcing that they had asked Finnish police to
initiate a criminal investigation of Halla-aho. The leader of the
Green Women´s Association, Heli Järvinen, claimed that Halla-aho´s
texts were not simply expressions of freedom of speech and bona fide
criticism of multiculturalism, but that they "incited both hatred and
As a result, public prosecutors charged Halla-aho, who has a
doctorate degree in Slavic linguistics, over allegedly racist, anti-
immigrant and anti-Muslim comments.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Jorme Kalske, "Halla-aho had
uploaded to the Internet and submitted writings to the general
public, in which Islam and its sacred institutions were combined with
paedophilia, and in which was also presented the robbery of
pedestrians and the looting of tax revenue by a certain national
group or with a specific genetic characteristic."
When the charges were presented in the Helsinki District Court, Halla-
aho stressed that he was opposed to violence against women and he
denied that he was against foreigners; he said that he was
simply "critical of immigration."
According to Halla-aho, the biggest problem associated with
immigration is the large number of immigrants in relation to the
resources used to integrate them. He has said that the one minority
group whose integration has failed everywhere is Muslim, and that
their refusal to assimilate creates problems such as social exclusion
and ethnic ghettoization.
Halla-aho has also said that he is opposed to so-called positive
discrimination, which grants special privileges to Muslims due to
their culture or nationality. Moreover, Halla-aho has said that
criticizing "totalitarian fascist ideologies like political Islam"
should not be considered racism and that "facts cannot be
Two lower courts had previously dismissed the hate charges against
Halla-aho and only fined him for "defaming religion." But Finnish
public prosecutors, outraged at the lenient rulings of the lower
courts, appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which actually
increased the lower court sentence by ordering Halla-aho to pay a 50-
day fine instead of a 30-day fine.
Halla-aho, who chairs the Finnish Parliament´s Administration
Committee (which deals with immigration issues), says he will appeal
the verdict in the European Court of Human Rights.
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