A young, bisexual politician in Finland has been fined €300 for Facebook postings criticizing Islam. A judge ruled that the postings incited hatred against Muslims.
Sebastian Tynkkynen, 27, is the former Vice Chairman of the right-wing, Eurosceptic Finns Party Congress. He is also the former chairman of the Finns Youth League and a deputy member of the Oulu City Council.
He came to mainstream attention as a 2011 contestant on Finland’s Big Brother.
Last year, in response to terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, postings appeared on his Facebook page calling for Muslims to be removed from Finland.
‘The fewer Muslims in Finland, the better,’ said one posting. ‘The less we see of Muslims, it is safer. We have to get rid of Islam before it is too late.’
‘Muslims get out of this country! Coming from the Middle East and Africa, Muslims should not be allowed in.’
Other postings referred to Allah and the prophet Mohammed.
He appeared in court last week to deny the charge of inciting hatred and blasphemy.
However, today he was found guilty. He faced a potential prison sentence of up to two years but instead was fined €300.
‘I am ready to post the same warnings to Facebook’
In a statement sent out to the press after the verdict, Tynkkynen appeared to be unrepentant.
‘The freedom of speech in Finland doesn’t look very good for LGBT people. In 2013 Finnish imam Abbas Bahmanpour compared homosexuality to incest and told in live TV-show, that gays should be punished to death. If that isn’t incitement, what is then? Bahmanpour has never been challenged with his thoughts in court.’
‘My right to defend Finland as a society, where human rights and gender equality come true, should be bigger than the right of Muslims to not be hurt when I criticize their religious teachings to kill gays.
‘The whole Europe must wake up, when violent teachings of the Quran are coming true. We must start loving our beautiful values and say no to Islamization of Europe. This 300€ charge won’t stop me for warning Finland and Europe about Islam.
‘Next time when I have enough money to express my political views again, I am ready to post the same warnings to Facebook.’
Tynkkynen’s supporters on Facebook have said they would help him pay his fine, while others have congratulated the court on its verdict. Tynkkynen has been widely condemned by many in the LGBTI community in the past for his right-wing views and postings on social media.
He is the fifth Finns Party politician to be convicted of online hate speech.
‘Human rights are universal and apply to all people’
Viima Lampinen, chairperson of Finland’s human rights NGO, SETA, responded to news of the verdict by telling GSN: ‘Human rights are universal and apply to all people. There can’t be any exceptions or double standards.
‘There’s still a lot to do regarding SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] rights in Finland, but that can and must be accomplished without hate speech or hatred towards other minorities. We must respect each other instead.’
UPDATE: Juha Karikoski, district prosecutor for the case, told GSN: ‘The prosecution is satisfied with the verdict. It’s in line with the verdicts that have previously been given in cases of similar content.’