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Olli Immonen. Photo supplied

Finnish poll reveals pessimism over immigration

The majority of Finns believe that immigration is directly linked to the rise of sexual offences, a Gallup poll by Finland's largest daily revealed.

Published: February 5, 2019, 9:16 am

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    Helsinki

    Some of 65 percent of respondents polled by Helsingin Sanomat believe that “the different culture and religion of immigrants” were the most important reasons for the increase in sex crimes in the Nordic country.

    Several migrants are currently being investigated for sex crimes involving girls as young as 10 in the northern Finnish town of Oulu, as FWM reported earlier. At the beginning of the year, in January, similar cases were reported in the country’s capital Helsinki.

    According to Helsingin Sanomat, a disproportionately large number of sex offenders are migrants. The Finnish daily commissioned the poll ahead of the general election. Sex crimes linked to immigration have become a major campaign issue since the events in Oulu, deeply dividing Finnish society.

    It is evident from Helsingin Sanomat’s poll, in which the absolute majority of patriotic Finns Party’s voters believe that cultural bias is the single most important reason for the spike in sexual offences, while left-wing voters tend to downplay ethnicity.

    Leftists maintain that native Finns are equally guilty of sexual crimes. Only 13 percent of the Greens voters and 14 percent of Left Alliance voters say that culture and religion have been contributing factors in the rise of grooming gangs.

    Despite their convictions, half of the respondents nevertheless supported the notion that migrants and asylum seekers have become a problem for Finland and Finns. Despite constituting only 6,9 percent of the Finnish population, foreigners are responsible for a quarter of all reported sex crimes, according to Finnish police.

    In the poll, Finns were also approached about measures to counter sex crimes. The most favoured response was tougher sentences (26 percent). It was followed by a greater effort to apply Finnish laws and values, including equality and respect for women (19 percent). The next measures were a reduction of immigration on humanitarian grounds and limiting immigration in general (both 10 percent).

    Two parties – the Finns and the Blue Reform – both are in favour of restricting immigration for Muslim countries. Finns leader Jussi Halla-aho said the sex attacks were due to immigration from “backward Islamic countries”, whose attitude toward women and underage girls greatly differs from Finland’s, while Blue Refrom leader Sampo Terho called migrants’ over-representation in sex crimes a “security threat”.

    Finland’s outgoing centre-right government has floated the idea of withdrawing migrant rapists’ Finnish citizenship, according to Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen.

    Olli Immonen, a Finnish MP of the Finns party, published a provocative update on his own Facebook page and on the Facebook page of Suomen Sisu in 2015 already, causing a national stir. In the update, Immonen said he was dreaming of a “strong and brave nation that overwhelms a nightmare called multiculturalism”.

    After the recent events, Immonen tweeted: “I would like to believe that it is still time for the key players in an irresponsible immigration policy to be held responsible for the damage they cause to Finnish society.”

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