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Finns Party parliamentary group rebukes own MP for online comment

The parliamentary group has issued MP Teuvo Hakkarainen with a reprimand concerning his anti-Islamic Facebook post from last summer. Hakkarainen says he accepts the scolding but will not desist from posting his thoughts online.

Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

The Finns Party parliamentary group has reprimanded the party's own MP, Teuvo Hakkarainen over the anti-Islamic Facebook comment he posted last summer. Hakkarainen was ordered to pay a lump sum for incitement to racial hatred.

The MP himself says in a release that he apologises for his behaviour but does not intend to stop airing his opinions publically.

"In future I will be more careful with what I publish," Hakkarainen says. "Just changing a word or two would have avoided this whole mess. My opinions have not changed."

The Finns parliamentary group emphasises that MPs must exercise restraint when posting via their online accounts. The group considers Hakkarainen's case closed.

In early January the district court of Central Finland sentenced Hakkarainen to 20 day-fines for his criminal post slandering Islam. Day-fines in Finland depend on one's monthly income, from which a set amount of 255 euros is deducted; the new sum is then divided by 60 to arrive at the sum of each daily penalty.

MP decries "lack of freedom of speech"

Hakkarainen is no stranger to being in the spotlight for his public behaviour. His response to being chided by his own party members was defensive on Wednesday.

"What I said wasn't racist. If I had criticised Christians or made fun of Jesus no one would have pressed charges. But if I denounce Muslims for their bad deeds I'm charged and sentenced," the member of parliament told Yle.

Among the things Hakkarainen said in his unlawful post was that "not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims".