I don’t know how much the readers follow the Finnish politics and issues, but so far it seems that the old game of “broken telephone” gets even worse when it is transferred from the reality into a newspaper with a political slant, regurgitated, edited and then translated into a foreign language. One of my favorite authors, Mark Twain wrote of this in his short story “Running for Governor” already in 1870, and nothing much has changed since. So you may see headlines of “Finnish politician sued for blasphemy” but I bet the articles are more or less confusing the issues.
There is no confusion that we still retain a paragraph in the Penal Code on “blasphemy”, actually Ch.17 Par. 11: “Breach of the sanctity of religion “(563/1998). Which enables the courts to sentence people on the grounds of “ridiculing what others regard as holy”. Of course in modern times you can laugh at Jesus and God, but can you laugh at Mohammad?
Double standards if you can’t laugh at both equally – and Finland is a land of equality, isn’t it? Then again theres a few other vague subjective laws in the Penal Code that require only that you be accused of them. You don’t have to find a victim for these crimes which makes them perfect to be used in silencing people. There is a law Ch.11 Par8 – “Ethnic agitation” (578/1995) that says “A person who spreads statements or other information among the public where a certain race, a national, ethnic or religious group or a comparable group is threatened, defamed or insulted shall be sentenced for ethnic agitation to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.” Which of course is a noble law. Again the question is, are all races, national, ethnic or religious groups or comparable groups equal before the law? For example, can you say that Finns are prone to drunken killing sprees? So if you can say that, can you say that X are prone to robbing passersby and leeching off welfare?
The vocal (or can you say vocal of someone who writes but doesn’t speak much) anti-multiculturalism blogger and aspiring politician Jussi Halla-aho got into the eye of a shitstorm running for the Helsinki city council (he is now among other things supervising the wanking baboons and lethally biting camels in the board of the Korkeasaari Zoo) and now as a result he’s facing court of his blogpost he made in 2006 that questioned the above equality issues. It is quite important to note that the Green Women had no case and no crime to have investigated – not liking someones opinions isn’t enough grounds.
The text “A few baits for Mika Illman” (the state prosecutor) was in fact the *only* one the prosecutor took upon himself to draw charges upon. Can you call that a hook-line-sinker?
On the one hand I find the whole case totally preposterous, as it clearly has a political agenda. Then again “publishing the Mohammad cartoons” issue has been a watershed so the blasphemy part might prove interesting. A part of me though wants Halla-aho to be sentenced for the agitation, so I can sue the ass off anyone claiming Finland is a cold soggy dark place with drunk wifebeaters who have a difficult language.