Finnish economy minister under fire over growing racism controversy

Finnish economy minister under fire over growing racism controversy

Disclosed messages, published by Finnish media, reveal Wille Rydman's use of racist language, content in private conversations

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) — Finland's right-wing coalition government faces yet another racism-related controversy as the country's economy minister comes under fire over private messages uncovered by the media.

The disclosed messages from 2016 that were published Thursday by the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reveal Wille Rydman's use of racist language and sharing of racially offensive content in private conversations with his then-girlfriend.

The report shows Rydman expressed his preference for banning people who wear headscarves, rather than headscarves themselves, and made derogatory remarks about individuals of different ethnic backgrounds.

When his then-partner suggested giving their future children traditional Hebrew names, Rydman responded: "We Nazis do not really like that kind of stuff."

Some of the messages contained offensive terms to describe minorities, including those of Middle Eastern and African origin.

Rydman is currently a member of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the second-largest faction in the four-party alliance government.

As controversy unfolds, calls for accountability have increased within the government. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo has demanded that every minister distance themselves from racism, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach.

The issue of extremism previously led to a government crisis when the previous economy minister and Rydman's predecessor, Vilhelm Junnila, also from the Finns Party, was found to have engaged in racist behavior.

Then the economy minister of Finland's newly formed alliance government, Junnila resigned in late June after intense criticism surrounding his associations with far-right groups.

He faced significant public backlash for his attendance at a far-right event in 2019 with connections to neo-Nazis.​​​​​​​

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