15:44 GMT02 December 2020
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    Of all the Nordic countries, Finland has the smallest proportion of Muslims. Nevertheless, it also runs the risk of exposure to radical Islamism, which can result in violence, terrorism and discrimination, a renowned Finnish Islam researcher warned.

    In an interview with Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet, Islam researcher Atte Kaleva warned readers that Islamist terrorism is a new reality that people are getting used to. According to Kaleva, the high-profile terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice, Berlin and Istanbul that claimed hundreds of lives are only links in a seemingly endless chain.

    "Although we are surprised by each new attack, we know that new ones are bound to happen sooner or later. Any new attack inspires new assassins. Nowadays it is so easy, since any vehicle can potentially become a terrorist's weapon" Kaleva told Hufvudstadsbladet.

    According to Kaleva, terrorists are killing people to push fear to a level where people start indiscriminately blaming Muslims for terrorism, thus creating a fertile ground for further radicalization. The Islamists' goal, he says, is a confrontation between the West and the Islamic world.

    Kaleva warned of Muslim circles in, above all, Greater Helsinki being attracted to Islamist extremism. Remarkably, they do not have any contact with Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) and radicalize themselves online.

    "It is hardly difficult to find videos glorifying terror, from the attacks against the US in 2001 to the recent European attacks. A Muslim who feels exposed to racism and discrimination, can develop into a full-fledged terrorist without a single imam or Daesh recruiter," Kaleva said, citing the high risk of "lone wolf" terrorist attacks unrelated to the terrorist organization.

    According to Kaleva, Muslim communities must nevertheless make it their task to constantly denounce individual terrorists as if they were accomplices. Kaleva noted that when the US suffers, many Muslim men tend to feel "spontaneous joy."

    Furthermore, it is important to bring home the notion that religion is an individual matter, Kaleva argued, citing women who seek to adapt their faith to Finnish society or leave Islam altogether, yet are exposed to intense pressure, intimidation and even violence. According to Kaleva, Finland must make it clear that only the provisions of Sharia law that are consistent with Finnish law can be upheld. Discrimination against women must therefore end once and for all.

    Lastly, Kaleva addressed Helsinki City's plans to build a Bahrain-funded 'super-mosque.'

    "There is nothing wrong in building mosques, but there are many question marks. Bahrain is close to Saudi Arabia where a very narrowly-interpreted version of Islam known as Wahhabism is dominant. Furthermore, Muslims tend to be unable to coexist. Sunni and Shia Muslims generally steer clear of each other. Muslims also tend to prefer small mosques for their own nationality only. It would thus be unfair to give a group of Muslims great benefits denied to others," Kaleva said.

    Islam researcher Atte Kaleva is a former Finnish captain and a UN military observer in Kashmir on the border between Pakistan and India. Kaleva rose to international fame before Christmas in 2012, when he and his wife Leila were kidnapped by a terrorist network in Yemen and held hostage for six months.

    By Kaleva's own admission, he was "woken" by the 2001 attacks in New York. When the mainstream media kept calling the terrorists "crazy," he realized that madmen did not perform such well-thought-out acts, and that their perpetrators had acted in cold blood.

    At present, the number of Muslims in Finland is expected to hover at about 60,000 in a nation of 5.5 million.


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    radicalization, radical Islam, Daesh, Scandinavia, Finland
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