ADL Applauds Finnish Leaders For Stand Against Racism

New York, NY, June 12, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today congratulated Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä of the Centre Party and Finance Minister Petteri Orpo of the National Coalition Party for ending their government coalition with the Finns Party, after the latter chose Jussi Halla-aho, a politician fined in the Finnish High Court for hate speech and defaming religion, as its leader.

“Prime Minister Sipilä and Finance Minister Orpo made the right decision to shun a racist leader even at the expense of their governing coalition,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Jussi Halla-aho’s blatant racism should never be legitimized by including him in government.” Yaron Nadbornik, President of the Central Council of Jewish Communities in Finland, said in a statement that “this was the only credible option for the government. A civilized society should never give in to discrimination and intolerance.”

Jussi Halla-aho, the new leader of the Finns Party, was convicted under Finland’s hate speech laws in 2012 for writing that Somalis are genetically predisposed to robbing people and living off of welfare and for calling Islam a “pedophile religion.”

In an article, “Why Race Matters,” on his website, Jussi Halla-aho made blatantly racist statements, including “[I]t is more likely that someone of African descent, because of evolution, is more prone to violence than say an Asian, even though we do not know either individual personally. … And crime is the most notable when it comes to traits we ascribe to people who evolved in Africa, they are violent. As civil rights kicked-in over thirty years ago, blacks became more violent as opportunities opened up for them. This would indicate that as the environments for blacks and whites became more similar, their behaviors diverged from whites. Blacks, when given the opportunity to possess guns, turned to violence.”

An ADL poll commissioned in 2014 found that 15 percent of those surveyed in Finland harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.