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Monday's papers: "Finland breaks up families," reception centres prepare for Ramadan, and forecast calls for summer storm

Many of Monday morning's newspapers follow up on a story that has upset many people - that of an Iraqi family, whose father is allowed to stay in Finland, but the mother and one of the family's young children are likely to be deported to Iraq on Friday.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

Main Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat (HS) takes a stand on a story that's receiving significant attention in Finland - that of an Iraqi family in which the father has been granted a residence permit to stay in Finland, while his wife and three-year-old daughter have been denied residence and are to be returned to Iraq on Friday.

HS runs an op-ed piece on the story headlined “Finland breaks up families,” and sharply criticises Finnish current immigration and family reunification policy which appears in reality to be different from the bureaucratic rhetoric. That reality is brought to light with the story of Huner Ali Muhammed who received refugee status in Finland, yet his wife and three-year daughter are to be deported to Iraq.  According to the decision made by immigration officials, writes HS, Muhammed’s earnings are not high enough to support his family – though he has a job – so his wife and daughter cannot stay in the country as their application lacks “individual human reason.” Huner and the family's second child, a 3-month old baby, can stay in the country.

Observing Ramadan in the land of endless light

Ramadan starts with dates, which are eaten before a meal to break the fast that is observed during daylight hours. Asylum seeker reception centres in Finland are preparing for Ramadan, which starts on Tuesday, writes HS. 

During Ramadan, Muslims can only eat once the sun has set, which means special arrangements must be made for those observing the fast. “Residents are thankful that can get food in the middle of the night and go to pray,” says the Finnish Red Cross Ruskeasuo reception centre's assistant director Eeva Matsuuke. At another reception centre, Khaled Mashaan’s family, which includes 5 children, will observe Ramadan, which could be slightly more challenging than back home in Iraq owing to the longer hours of daylight in Finland this time of year. “The fast will be 21 to 22 hours each day,” says Khaled Mashaan. But he adds that he’s not concerned, as it may be easier to fast in Finland since all the basic services, such as electricity, work.

Offers of help

Iltalehti also leads with a two-page spread about the plight of Huner Ali Muhammed, who moved to Finland seven years ago and whose family will be torn apart on Friday, unless something radical happens as his wife Gashaw Khaleel Hamad and their 3-year old duahgter Sämä will be forced to return to war-torn Iraq.

Iltalehti reports that the church has offered to help the family and Huner has received countless job offers from people he doesn’t know as a result of the story about his family's situation in Sunday’s HS. According to Iltalehti, Huner’s wife Gashaw has repeatedly applied for a residence permit in Finland from different authorities and been turned down. “Those negative decisions are a message that our lives are meaningless,” Huner told the paper.

Summer storms in store

Ilta-Sanomat also weighs in on the Huner Ali Muhammed story, before going on to lighter topics such as the summer storms forecast for the end of the week. On Thursday, strong winds will blow through western and northern regions with storm warnings in effect for sea areas, something that's not so common during the summer months, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute meteorologist Tuomas Bergman. 

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