Pastor of Putinism Preaches Ethnic Hatred
Finland’s Ombudsman for Minorities, Eva Biaudet, has asked the police to investigate statements by Juha Molari, Lutheran pastor in the Pohja congregation in Raasepori. The Ombudsman asked the police to see whether the content of Molari’s blog meets the criteria of inciting ethnic hatred.
The Ombudsman refers to two specific articles, in which Molari stated that asylum seekers from Russia’s North Caucasus arrive in Finland “because of their terrorist links,” and that “every [asylum seeker] who flees the Caucasus and arrives in Finland is linked to terrorism.”
Moreover, the Ombudsman states that “when considering Molari’s blog as a whole, it is obvious that the author wishes to arouse the same sort of loathing and contempt for a certain group of people as he feels himself.”
Members of Finland’s Chechen and Ingush communities complained about Molari’s actions to the Ombudsman for Minorities in September 2010. In their open letter, they stated that Molari’s actions endangered the security of people who had received international protection in Finland and the safety of their relatives back home.
In November 2010, about a thirty Chechen refugees in Finland organised a demonstration in front of Molari’s church in Pohja. The demonstrators protested against Molari’s threats and campaign of hatred against Chechen refugees.
On 23 February 2011, Molari disturbed an event to commemorate the genocide of the Chechen and Ingush peoples, held in front of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki. The demonstration commemorated the forced deportation of Chechens and Ingushetians in 1944. The European Parliament has recognised the deportation as a genocide.
Several private individuals have complained to church authorities and the police about Molari’s actions and blog posts. The police suspects Molari of libel and illegal threats, and has referred the case to the prosecutor.
Molari and other persons have continuously spread false claims on the internet and through Russian media about the case of seven-year-old Anton Salonen, the subject of a high-profile custody dispute. The boy’s father, Paavo Salonen, has turned to the police, demanding that the campaign of lies and slander against his family end immediately.
In 2001, police launched an investigation against Molari and his wife, who were suspected of trading in prostitution. At that time, Molari served as a pastor in a Lutheran congregation in Helsinki. He was convicted of trading in prostitution, but was eventually acquitted in an administrative court under unclear circumstances.
The Lutheran chapter in Espoo is now contemplating whether to suspend Molari from his duties as pastor in Pohja. The possible disciplinary measures are a result of conduct unbecoming a pastor in office. Molari received his first official reprimand in June 2010 for improper and offensive language.
According to a report drawn up by the church’s investigator, Molari has labelled certain persons by name as supporters of terrorism and has thus knowingly put them at risk. Moreover, the report states that Molari has used his public sermons to propagate his political views.
The investigator asked Molari, among other things, why he had asked Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to contact him and carry out a terrorist attack in Finland. In addition, Molari had stated that he regarded the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya as justified, because “Politkovskaya’s articles were untrue.”
The church authorities commissioned another report on the working atmosphere in Molari’s congregation in Pohja. The parish council concluded that Molari should be relieved of his duties or transferred to another post. The report stated that employees and parishioners had suffered greatly because of Molari’s actions.
Molari is now standing for election to the Finnish parliament, representing the communist Workers Party of Finland (STP) in Helsinki. Many of the party’s candidates have taken part in Molari’s campaign of hatred. At the same time, Molari states on his blog that he is seeking employment in Russia.
*Text was written by Finnish-Russian Civic Forum and translated for Waynakh Online