A bisexual politician is facing heavy fines or two years imprisonment after allegedly posting ‘all terrorists are Muslims’ on his Facebook page.
Sebastian Tynkkynen, chairman of the young True Finns party – a Eurosceptic nationalistic right-wing party, is in court after being accused of inciting religious hatred.
He has denied the charges and says his intention was political, and that he wanted to defend Western values.
According to the Global Travel and Tourism Report released by the World Economic Forum last October, Finland is the safest country in the world.
In 2016, a series of Islamophobic posts appeared on Tynkkynen’s Facebook feed that responded directly to attacks in Paris and Nice by calling for all Muslims to be removed from Finland.
‘The fewer Muslims in Finland, the better,’ he appeared to write. ‘The less we see of Muslims, it is safer. We have to get rid of Islam before it is too late.’
On 15 July, he wrote: ‘Muslims get out of this country! Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim. Coming from the Middle East and Africa, Muslims should not be allowed in.’
District prosecutor Juha Karikoski said they concluded the writer is guilty of the charges brought against him.
‘The writer’s intentions have no significance, he is aware they fit the nature of the crime,’ they said. ‘In other words, they were libelous and defamatory.’
Tynkkynen said he was ‘deeply offended’ by the prosecutor’s descriptions of his writings.
‘I have previously attended court as a witness in case involving my African friend. A racist or xenophobic person would never do that,’ the defendant reportedly said tearfully, according to YLE. ‘These charges are the complete opposite of who I am.’
Tynkkynen, wearing a t-shirt saying ‘STAY TRUE’, also said during the court session: ‘I still don’t believe that I am in this situation. How else can one write about Islam?’
The court will come to a verdict on 16 January.