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Finnish Police Begin Week-Long Hunt for Illegal Immigrants

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VESA MOILANEN/AFP/Getty Images

Police forces across Finland are carrying out a search for illegal immigrants in a six-day crackdown on aliens living in the country without permission, local media reports.

In the period between March 12 and 18, officers will be carrying out identity checks in public places such as restaurants and shopping centres where they suspect illegal immigrants are at large based on intelligence held by police forces in advance.

“In practice, this means that when a person who is being checked turns out to be foreign, officers will check their immigration status and relevant papers,” said Finnish police chief Mia Poutanen.

Disclosing that checks might take place as part of traffic control, she told local media: “If, for example, it is known that foreigners are moving in a certain place then police will carry out identity checks at the same time as traffic control.”

Around 3,000 illegal immigrants are caught each year in Finland as a result of targeted initiatives lasting several days like the one taking place this week, but the crackdowns are a “sensitive subject” because “many people felt they had been checked purely on the basis of their appearance”, YLE reported.

“Our instructions are clear and the legislation is clear, ethnic profiling is forbidden,” Poutanen stressed, adding that she would like to see more people from ethnic minority backgrounds enter a career in the police.

A Somali activist campaigning to promote the idea that Finland is multicultural, because she says it is difficult “to be black and Muslim in a country that thinks itself white”, was named an “everyday heroine” in one of the major news outlets for Muslims in France last week.

Maryan Abdulkarim, who writes in the Finnish press and is frequently broadcast on the nation’s radio and television demanding more representation for ethnic minorities across various institutions including in the media, is hailed as a woman “in love with justice” and who “works for the common good” in a profile by Saphir News.

Lamenting her experience as “the only woman of colour and Muslim” after she moved from Mogadishu to a town near Helsinki with her family as a child, the 36-year-old Malcolm X fan said she was forced to experience ‘otherness’ at a school where ‘minorities’ stories are not told’.

Abdulkarim is funded by EU taxpayers to “develop and create daring and extraordinary work … addressing urgent political and social issues” as part of a four-year project supported by Creative Europe.

“Maryan believes that nobody is free until everyone is free and that we are all needed in creating the new European narrative that’s free of oppression and hierarchies,” states the activist’s Urban Heat “artist” profile.

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