Salaams from Helsinki! I’ve finally gotten around to creating a photo album for this trip, which I’ll update regularly while I’m here. You can see it by following this link – enjoy and check back often!
Last night, the Finnish Broadcasting Network featured an interview with Raija Ala-Lipasti and myself – we were discussing honor violence. Raija, who is the operations manager of the Turku Women’s Centre, has worked with women who have been subject to and threatened by honor-based violence. This is an issue many people across Scandinavia have taken interest in – especially following the death of Fadime Sahindal.
(The white lettering above is what I’m saying – in Finnish subtitles. I point out that these crimes are committed by only a small percentage of the Muslim community; and that advanced nations should provide assistance to their Muslim residents. During the day’s events, I also highlighted cases of honor violence not committed by Muslims – like the case of Du’a Khalil Aswad. )
Tomorrow, I meet Finland’s refugee of the year from the year 2000, Batulo Essak. We will be working at the AIDS support center and also discussing the issue of female genital cutting. Finland has an ever-growing number of refugees from Somalia; where 90% of women are “circumcised.” Eighty percent of these circumcisions are Type III – the most severe form of genital mutilation.
Stay tuned for more updates from the snowy north; and remember to stay up-to-date by checking out the International Campaign Against Honor Killings regularly. For women and girls like Aasiyah Hassan, Sarah and Amina Said, Aqsa Parvez, Sandeela Kanwal, and the many who have already lost their lives – it is too late. Let’s not let them pass in vain – we can and must take action.
If you’re living in the UK, be sure to see this story about a new helpline founded to help those in danger of honor violence and forced marriage. It is already receiving calls. Hopefully, crisis management professionals the world over will take a cue from this latest initiative, training their staff to handle these cases effectively.