Finland Minister: Somalis spread like weeds and hijabis should be banned

Pic: kuvapankki.valtioneuvosto

By 5Pillars (RMS)

Finnish media has revealed private conversations in which the country’s economy minister said Somalis spread like weeds and that women who wear headscarves should be banned, among other racist remarks.

Wille Rydman, 37, shared lyrics to a song which talked about a Muslim who leaves his home country and rapes a woman. He suggested to his ex-girlfriend that the song could be ideally sung at student parties.

Minister Rydman also described people from the Middle East as “monkeys” and “desert monkeys.”

In one message Rydman mused about where his own dark brown eyes might have been inherited from. “Even if I bred with a pitch black Nigerian negro, the child would still have a 26% chance of having green eyes,” Rydman said.

The disclosed messages from 2016 that were published on Thursday by the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reveal Wille Rydman’s use of racist language and sharing of racially offensive content in private conversations with his then-girlfriend.

When his then-partner suggested giving their future children traditional Hebrew names, Rydman responded: “We Nazis do not really like that kind of stuff.”

Rydman is currently a member of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the second-largest faction in the four-party alliance government.

His use of racist language in private conversations has now mired Finland’s right-wing coalition government in yet another racism-related controversy.

As the controversy unfolds, calls for accountability have increased within the government. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo has demanded that every minister distance themselves from racism, emphasising a zero-tolerance approach.

The issue of extremism previously led to a government crisis when the previous economy minister and Rydman’s predecessor, Vilhelm Junnila, also from the Finns Party, was found to have engaged in racist behavior.

Then the economy minister of Finland’s newly formed alliance government, Junnila resigned in late June after intense criticism surrounding his associations with far-right groups.

He faced significant public backlash for his attendance at a far-right event in 2019 with connections to neo-Nazis.​​​​​​​

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Friday that even though the messages had been private, the language was “inappropriate.” “I cannot accept such a way of speaking,” Orpo said.

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra said the messages were inappropriate, while Rydman himself has indicated he could launch legal action against the newspaper for publishing the messages in the first place.

Eva Biaudet, a former minister, ombudsman and presidential candidate for the Swedish People’s Party – one of the government’s smaller coalition partners – has urged her party to quit the government. The party’s leader, Anna-Maja Henriksson, said on Friday she’s still hoping Rydman will make a full apology for his remarks.