Refugees, they were one of the most popular subjects in the news in 2015. Now in the beginning of 2016 the news talk again about refugees, but this time the subject is not their arrival by boats to Greece and Italy – this time the news are about the incidents in Cologne in the New Year’s Eve. The only fact that we know so far is that about 600 women have brought a charge to police against the sexual harassment foreign men practiced against them. After Cologne, women in Zurich, Hamburg, Munich are bringing similar charges against some foreign men. However, what happened?

People protest against the sexual attacks in Cologne (Keystone)

 

 

 

 

I have tried to read different opinions about what lies behind this phenomenon. In one blog, the writer went so far to accuse the Russian secret services about these incidents. According to me the other secret services would know about this – USA has quite active intelligence service and it is difficult to imagine that they wouldn’t have heard about these plans in advance in case there were behind the Russian secret service. Almost certain is that it was all organized. Somebody claims ISIS, because in this way ISIS could create more tension between natives and refugees and so it would be easier to radicalize angry young men. Nevertheless, why would refugees act in favor of ISIS?

 

In Finland, a police chief gave a statement that also, there were same kind of problems in the New Year’s Eve, but organizers have not confirmed this. The most worrying is that this police chief claims that a public sexual harassment of women is a new phenomenon in Finland. I have lived in Finland most of my life and I remember that on my way home from school I saw more than enough men showing their genitals or when I was about 12 years old in the train from Turku to Helsinki in front of me sat a man that started to show his genitals. I remember I was shocked. However, I mean this happened more than 35 years ago and now somebody says it is a new phenomenon. The other point is then that a new thing is that they are foreigners that harass women, not only Finnish men.

Who gains something from this? Certainly xenophobes i.e. extreme right wings. Now they can say that foreigners threat our women and we want to protect them. Already in some cities in Finland, there are “soldiers of Odin” on the streets to protect Finnish people against violent Muslims. The police says they are fine as long as they don’t harm anybody. I would like to see the reaction of police if Muslims create same kind of groups called “soldiers of Allah”. The Finnish police can’t be so naive that they believe these groups create no harm. They do create. Innocent people are scared to walk on the streets, especially knowing that some of the members of these “soldiers of Odin” have a criminal background. Today I read that in Cologne there have been attacks against Arabs. Is this where Europe will finish? Is there no other way to solve the problems than violence? Now also the Muslims and refugees in Europe should rally on the streets against the incidents of the New Year’s Eve. If they don’t show their condemn how can Europeans know that hopefully most of them don’t accept this kind of behavior. On the other hand, is their culture so different from ours? I know very little about Muslim culture, but I know that women’s position is very different from the situation in Western countries. I’m a foreigner in Italy and I have to accept that some things are different from my native culture. However, I can’t expect the culture to change for me, I have been forced to change to adapt to this society. Therefore, also Muslims should understand that in Western countries women are respected and have same rights as men.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela-

 

 

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