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Book: Racism becoming more acceptable in Finland

A new book examining Finnish far-right movements says groups operating in Finland share many traits with extreme factions elsewhere in Europe.

Image: Yle / Isto Janhunen

A danger exists that increasingly marginal and radical views are being given room in Finnish public debate. That's according to the authors of _Äärioikeisto Suomessa, _(or"The Finnish Far-Right").

Co-author Dan Koivulaakso says an alarming trend is that racist remarks are becoming more acceptable in everyday speech.

"I’m not worried about opinions — what worries me is how they’re received. What concerns me is when these opinions stop being seen as belonging to a fringe and become mainstream," Koivulaakso explains.

Koivulaakso says racist anti-immigrant rhetoric has become more common. A core finding in the book, according to Koivulaakso, is the nationalistic Suomen Sisu association’s influence in Finnish politics.

What concerns me is when these opinions stop being seen as belonging to a fringe and become mainstream.

Dan Koivulaakso

Suomen Sisu calls for "separate but equal" treatment of cultures and races "blurred by multiculturalism."

Teemu Lahtinen, a founding member of Suomen Sisu interviewed in the book, says the association has met all of its goals.

“It’s good that there’s critical debate about immigration in society, but legislation should still be changed according to our proposal,” explains Lahtinen.

According to Koivulaakso, Suomen Sisu has successfully politicised immigration issues, bringing its message out in mainstream politics.

The book suggests that many of the anti-immigrant and Islamophobic groups in Finland want to close off Europe’s borders.

Äärioikeisto Suomessa is based on the far-right’s own texts, including blogs, interviews, police reports and historical sources.

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