How odd – the Social Democrat Party (SDP) in Finland just minted a brand new member of Parliament who insulted gays, Somalis, America, Israel, Jews and Sunni Muslims. The SDP is the leftist party of progressives, kind of like the Social Democrat wing of our own Democratic party. Notwithstanding their political “convictions,” the party has stood by the man whose election victory last month gave the SDP the majority over the right wing Finns Party.
The 35-year-old MP in question, pro-Iran Iraqi refugee Hussein al-Taee, enabled the SDP to reach 40 members in the Parliament, narrowly besting the Finns Party showing of 39. For months Al-Taee denied authorship of the offensive statements, that is until his party won the election.
Why a leftist party embraces as one of its own someone who ridiculed gays or Somalis on his Facebook page at first blush is puzzling. His homophobic post was perhaps the most shocking. In 2011 al-Taee posted a scandalously scatological reference to a gay Finn who attended a public event with Adam Lambert, an internationally known gay entertainer.
It is less surprising, if no less inappropriate, that Al-Taee slammed the U.S., Jews and Israel, and even Sunni Muslims.
CLAIMED U.S. AND ISRAEL TRAINED ISIS
In a pro-Russian Facebook page of which he was an administrator, al-Taee claimed America (during the Obama era!) and Israel gave military training to ISIS. He also wrote,“I don’t see a big difference between the state of Israel and ISIS.” In 2015, al-Taee referred to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “war criminal,” and likened Israel’s defensive actions in Gaza to the ISIS terrorist slaughters in Paris in November, 2015.
In May of 2012, al-Taee wrote a profanity-laced antisemitic response to an article about Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, ”JEW DOING WHAT A JEW DOES BEST. ****S UP EVERYBODY TO GAIN EVERYTHING.” (asterisks replaced letters posted in original. Ed) Later that summer al-Taee also posted an “illuminati” conspiracy theory which claims Jews have ruled the world since ancient times and their purpose is to enslave the whole world. This theory was advanced in the infamous Jewish-hate propaganda, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In mid-December, 2014, al-Taee slammed America, quoting Ayatollah Khamenie. He wrote that the U.S. created al-Qaeda, which “murders children all around the world under different names, why should we trust Americans?”
SUNNI HATRED AND ADMIRATION FOR IRANIAN MULLAHS
In 2011, al-Taee used explicit profanity, fantasizing online about burning the Saudi King and Egypt’s Mubarak. He wrote, “burn, mother******* burn,” and referred to Saudis as “CHILD F****ERS.”
In A July 2015 post, Al-Taee again expressed antipathy towards Sunni Muslims and admiration for the Iranian Shiite. He wrote, “Defending Palestine in the name of Islam, Supplying Iraq in the name of the Shia sect. Negotiating a nuclear deal in the name of the Persian people. When will Arabs learn to use their hats [heads] like that?” Beneath the narrative is a cartoon of a Saudi leader standing on a stack of U.S. dollars, next to, but lower than, an Iranian mullah standing on a stack of academic tomes, including science, history, and philosophy.
WHERE THE LEFT MARRIES THE MULLAHS
In 2018, al-Taee quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, claiming Iran was “key in beating ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”
So what is the attraction for a left-leaning country in which the Social Democrats have attained control of the government, for retaining a spanking-new MP who has already disgraced himself, his largely government-funded employer, the SDP and Finland, all in the space of al-Taee’s first few weeks in office?
There is speculation that al-Taee’s pro-Iranian position is at least part of the attraction. Ken Sikorski is the publisher of Tundra Tabloids, a blog based in Finland. Sikorski, speaking by phone from Finland, explained that al-Taee comes from an influential Iraqi family. The father, whose political party is fervently pro-Iranian, was the governor of Najaf province in Iraq. Sikorski wrote an exhaustive article about Finland’s ties to Iran at the Gatestone Institute site in late April. Finland, Sikorski explained, has been ardently wooing the Islamic Republic of Iran as a business partner.
Shortly after the signing of the Iran Nuclear Deal, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö traveled to Tehran and gave the Opening Address at the Finnish-Iranian business seminar on Oct. 25, 2016.
In his remarks, Niinistö embraced Iran as “an important trade hub,” equating it with the Iran of the 16th and 17th centuries which served “as a gateway between the East and West.” The Finnish President suggested that his country could regain its position “as an interesting partner for Iran in many fields.”
Al-Taee’s problematic posts first surfaced in the STT Finnish news agency late in the fall of 2018. At that time he claimed not to recognize the postings and sought sympathy as a victim of dirty politics. But some activists continued raising the issue, which began to pick up steam in the run-up to Finland’s elections in April. Al-Taee continued to deny authorship of the posts until his confession on April 29th, shortly after Finland’s elections.
Although the statute of limitations has run for most of al-Taee’s offensive statements, Finnish professor of criminal justice Matti Tolvanen said that if not for the timing, all of his statements could be prosecutable as incitement under Finland’s criminal code. The penalty for such incitement is up to two years.
UNASSIMILATED IMMIGRANTS ARE GIVEN PRIVILEGED STATUS
Screenshots of Al-Taee’s posts were all captured by Anter Yasa who then posted them to his blog. Yasa, a Kurdish refugee from a Muslim family and a former SDP party member, was reached by phone in Helsinki on May 10.
When asked how it was possible that progressive Finland could have elected someone who publicly humiliated gays and Somalis, Yasa’s response was shocking: “There are two standards in Finland, one for Finns and one for immigrants,” he said. Yasa further explained: “Finns so desperately want to tolerate difference, that they only respect unassimilated immigrants; once [an immigrant] becomes Finnish, then they turn their backs on him.”
Yasa speaks from experience. He is the chair of the Finnish Secular Immigrants Association. When he began condemning Al-Taee’s controversial writings this spring, he was attacked in the media as a troublemaker and some of what he published was removed
from other sites. But Yasa didn’t back down and eventually journalists outside of Finland joined in, writing of al-Taee’s offenses.
Benjamin Weinthal, who writes for the Jerusalem Post from Germany, began covering the story in May. He wrote about the slurs against Israel and Jews, and asked the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, Efraim Zuroff, about al-Taee. In Zuroff’s opinion, he said, “Al-Taee is an anti-Semite.”
Finally, after an endless series of articles which eventually reached the international press, al-Taee came clean. He admitting authoring the noxious posts at a brief press conference and through a statement issued on April 29 – again, just after the elections were over. Al-Taee sought absolution, claiming that he “no longer holds these views.” He blamed the embarrassing outbursts on growing up in a conservative, religious household.
In response to al-Taee’s current claim that he’s ashamed of his racist and anti-Semitic slurs, the Weisenthal Center’s Zuroff wrote: “If he’s really sorry, let him resign from the Parliament!!”
BIGOTED MP EMPLOYED BY CONFLICT RESOLUTION FIRM
As shocking to an outsider that the leftist Social Democrats in Finland elected a homophobic, anti-Semite to its Parliament is that he had been employed and lauded by Finland’s prestigious conflict resolution/peace mediation organization, Conflict Management Initiative. CMI was founded in 2000 by Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
CMI describes itself as helping “create spaces for negotiated solutions of violent conflicts by involving all relevant actors in the pursuit of sustainable peace.” CMI’s added value is to “use our expertise to support the broader peacebuilding community.” The organization states the “starting point” for its core principles “is human dignity.”
Al-Taee began at CMI in 2015. Yasa was outraged that someone who had repeatedly posted profanity-laced, bigoted Facebook comments was publicly hailed as a peace negotiator and conflict resolution expert by CMI.
Government funding is the largest source of CMI’s budget, but private foundations also kick in a sizable amount. George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are two of CMI’s funders. Each of them is widely excoriated as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.
Immediately following the new lawmaker’s mea culpa on April 29, CMI Executive Tuija Talvitie expressed shock, and distanced the company from al-Taee’s offensive statements. Still, Talvitie expressed admiration for al-Taee’s “bold act” of admitting the truth and expressing shame for his “former self,” according to one of Finland’s most widely-read newspapers, Iltalehti.
CMI initially retained al-Taee’s name on its website, even after his public admission. It was not until the Jerusalem Post’s Weinthal publicly pressed the point that his name was finally scrubbed.
DISGRACED MP NOW ON ‘MENTAL HEALTH LEAVE’ AS SDP FORMS GOVERNMENT
Al-Taee was not available to respond to questions. Following his shame-filled public apologia, he entered a hospital for “mental health reasons,” where he remains on sick leave status. The head of his Social Democrats Party parliamentary group, Antti Lindtman said they will not comment on al-Taee’s status until he returns from sick leave. Meanwhile, the SDP is working to form its coalition with Finland’s Left Alliance, the former Finnish Communist Party, and the Greens.
But the election is over. The Social Democrats succeeded – by one vote – in forming the majority. Although it appears that CMI may decide its “peace negotiator” status is impaired by association with al-Taee, the SDP has hung on to him long enough to attain control.
Think of it: progressive Finland and the leftist Social Democrats giving a pass to a racist, homophobic, anti-Semite in order to grasp control of Finland’s government. Kind of reminds you of Virginia’s evanescent political scandal, doesn’t it?