Tapanila railway station appeared quiet and chilly on Monday evening. A few people ran for the train heading towards the Helsinki centre. In front of the station, an elderly woman strolled the street with an aid of a walker.
Just a week earlier a crude act of violence shocked this suburb lying on the outskirts of Helsinki when near the station, on March 9, a young woman was raped.
The news caused an outrage on the internet and in the streets, especially, after the ethnic background of the suspects was revealed.
The young woman had stepped in a local train at the Tikkurila station at 21:10. She had only two stops to get home but it took only a few minutes for a group of five boys of Somali heritage in the age of 15-18 to summon and starting to harass her.
After five minutes, she left the train in Tapanila in her home neighbourhood, a park like residential area dominated with detached, terraced and apartment houses. It was a possible exit to the hellish situation she had unknowingly stepped into.
She lived within a walking distance from the station. But the group of boys decided continue to follow her, and after the train station, in an outdoor recreation area, they raped her.
What the boys didn’t know, was that they were followed and they were quickly caught by the police.
The boys were taken into custody for interrogations. On Friday, they were jailed as suspects of committing aggravated rape.
After the headlines following the news, and after the details of the suspects’ Somali heritage spread like wildfire in social media and discussion forums, it caused an outrage and the seed was planted on the never-ending debate of, whether immigrants commit more sexual crimes in Finland than the natives.
According to the police, the writing has been raw and violent on certain web pages and the National Bureau of Investigations has stepped up surveillance on them in order to prevent the violent outbursts on the internet to turn into real violence in areas such as Vantaa, where the police has laid its eyes on, because of the high amount of immigrants living there.
[alert type=red ]When a Somalian is suspected of a crime, every Somali seems to become a criminal, at least in the streets and in the social media.[/alert] These are the thoughts of Ujuni Ahmed, a young Somali woman, whose interview was published in various Finnish media on Monday.
Ahmed said that instead of pointing fingers inside the community and searching for the names of the suspects, Somalis should start defending the victim: they should arrange a support march.
On Monday, a message written by Michael Barry, a black man with American roots, started spreading in Facebook.
“This is really about the victim and everything I add will take the message further from the core, which is about her and she is probably in the hospital …”
“If you are walking around Finland with the same color skin that I have then LISTEN UP!!!!!!!!!!!!,” the message said. “If you see someone who looks just like you/ just like me doing something STUPID like a gang of young men harassing and eventually raping someone, call the police, tell them to stop, get help… #/&%£ DO SOMETHING!!!”
Barry continued that there is an underground calling for foreigners to go back to their home country and “every time IDIOTS do something like this, it makes it that much harder for decent hard working, tax paying immigrants/refugees to live a normal life… Why???” “Because people just assume you and I are just like one of these clowns.”
Barry’s message had been shared about 17,000 times when Finland Today caught him on the phone on Monday afternoon. “It doesn’t matter how many shares it gets,” he said. “This is really about the victim and everything I add will take the message further from the core, which is about her and she is probably in the hospital . . . ”
Let’s look at the statistics. There are about 16,000 Somalis living in Finland. 52 per cent of them are under 20-years old, so from a total of over 8,000, crimes have been committed by only a few.
This is a family problem, according to Abdirahim “Husu” Hussein, a politician (Centre) an activist of equality and multiculturalism and of Somali heritage.
Hussein points his finger to the families of those Somalis who are guilty of crimes: they have not learned at home to respect the physical integrity of another human.
1,010 rapes were reported to the police in 2014, according to the Official Statistics of Finland.
The number of suspected immigrants in these cases is about three times higher than of the suspected natives in relation to the population.
There is no unambiguous answer to why this is the case and is yet to be researched.
However, social factors, such as integration surely play part of this and perhaps racist motives are behind some of the accusations. After all, Somalis, for example, have four times higher risk of being victims of racist crimes such as assault in relation to native Finns, according to the statistics.
But the truth is that about 80 per cent of the rape suspects are still native Finns.