Two new members of parliament, from opposite sides of the political spectrum, have had old online posts come back to haunt them since they were elected last week.
Social Democrat MP Hussein al-Taee and Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho are both caught up in separate scandals.
Al-Taee makes Middle East comments
Hussein Al-Taee has come under pressure over posts on Facebook, when he was commenting on the situation in the Middle East. The Uusimaa MP, who works for President Martti Ahtisaari’s Crisis Management Initiative CMI, compared Israel to terror group Isis, on a Facebook group run by pro-Russian agitator Janus Putkonen.
“I don’t see a big difference between the state of Israel and Isis” wrote al-Taee on the online forum, where he had also been an administrator.
“[Israeli intelligence service] Mossad would not forgive Sweden for this, ever” writes al-Taee, at the prospect Sweden would recognise an independent Palestinian state. He also suggested that Israel and America had given military training to Isis fighters.
The new member of parliament has apologised for the posts calling some of his writing “stupid comments”, and his employer CMI says he still enjoys their trust. His new bosses at the Social Democrat Party in parliament say they’ll be talking with al-Taee after Easter about the things he wrote.
Al-Taee says he quit the Facebook group after he realised how pro-Russia it had become.
Halla-aho doesn’t denounce his old writings
Meanwhile Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho won’t denounce old writings which got him convicted by Finland’s Supreme Court.
Last week he refused to answer a question from a journalist about whether he still stood by his blog posts. One of Halla-aho’s media minders ordered the Helsingin Sanomat to hand over a microphone, and he was told it wasn’t an appropriate question to ask.
The blog posts which got Halla-aho into trouble with the law drew comparisons between Islam and pedophilia; and said Somalis were naturally disposed to claiming welfare benefits and stealing. Finnish courts found those comments qualified as inciting hatred against an ethnic group.
Writing on Facebook this weekend, Halla-aho says that he doesn’t want to comment on the matter since it’s already been asked during numerous other local, municipal and European Parliament elections.
But he concedes that “some have been stupid and unthinking comments” that he probably shouldn’t have said as a politician.