As the so-called Islamic refugees continue to flood into European cities, slowly the citizens are starting to react to the increased crime rates and the behavior of the Muslims towards the women of the countries. All across Europe, groups of Christian men and even some women are joining forces to combat what they see as a loss of their national identity by the Middle Eastern hoard.
One such group is known as “Soldiers of Odin” and claims chapters across Europe, including Britain and the United States. Called vigilantes by the refugees and their own government officials, the groups say they are just trying to ensure the safety of their wives, sisters and daughters. Members of the Soldiers of Oden meet nightly and patrol the streets of their towns looking for harassing behavior by refugee males.
Many of the groups are said to be violent neo-Nazi gangs, but the members say that is not true. They admit they are conservatives but say they do not engage in violence, but only go on patrols looking for problems and then notify police if they see anything wrong. Soldiers of Oden members, like most groups, have taken to the streets in night time ‘migrant patrols’ following in the wake of the country’s mounting immigration crisis.
The self-styled ‘Soldiers of Odin’ march in a group, wearing bomber jackets with their logo on the back. They have vowed to take direct action to ‘protect their wives, girlfriends and children’ after the migrant influx to the liberal Scandinavian country.
The organization, which claims to have chapters across Europe, says it mobilized after a rise in migrant-related crime over the past 12 months because the Finnish government has ‘screwed everything up’.
We went on patrol with The Soldiers of Odin, as they pounded the streets of Kemi, western Finland, clad in black and led by a large Spanish Mastiff dog towards the city’s refugee center.
‘The Government screwed things up so bad, and we are the consequence,’ says masked Jani, 27, one of the group’s leaders, who works in a paper factory by day. ‘Politicians are allowing migrants to rape our women, and they are doing nothing about it. There will be a war on the streets, and we are ready to fight.’ Politicians are allowing migrants to rape our women, and they are doing nothing about it. There will be a war on the streets, and we are ready to fight
The group was founded in September by Mika Ranta, Soldiers of Odin is one of an increasing number of anti-migrant groups springing up across the continent. The group insists it has no connection to the Swedish football ‘firms’ who went on the rampage in Stockholm last week, and says it has not been involved in violence. That is a claim that many may find hard to believe, but is grudgingly backed up by law enforcement.
The vast majority of the Soldiers of Odin are working-class, from janitors, sheet metal workers, mechanics and factory workers. The group continues to draw new members and interest in them grows. The group’s number of Facebook likes, currently at almost 25,000, is growing daily. It claims to have 600 members in more than 25 cells across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, and even in Britain and the United States.
Unemployed ice hockey fan Lari Kuosmanen, 26, a leader of the Joensuu ‘division’, acknowledges he has a criminal record. But he says that ‘everyone has made mistakes’, and flatly denies that most rank-and-file Odins have any connection to neo-Nazism.
‘As a group, we have not committed a single act of violence so far,’ he says. ‘We are trying to protect the people. The problem is, it’s hard to be good guys if you look like bad guys.’ ‘If Odins obey the rules and do not cause trouble, their personal views don’t matter,’ said Jani.
As to the issue of beliefs, they all seem to have one view in common. ‘White people will not let Muslims destroy their culture,’ says Juha-Matti Kinnunen, 27, who is studying to be a mechanic at an adult education center. ‘If things carry on like this, ethnic cleansing will be necessary. Christianity and Islam have been at war for hundreds of years, and it won’t stop until one side prevails. We will fight to defend our culture, lands and people.’
Ranta himself is unapologetic about his views. ‘The white population will be replaced by other races if we can’t change the current situation,’ he says. ‘Every race has good and bad features and that’s why all of them are important. Some races may have lower average IQ than us.
While Sons of Odin is open to everyone, including White Supremacists, only five per cent of Odins hold these views. On the other hand, not a single one strongly disagrees.
Many of the Odins appear to have little connection to the far-Right, however. Back on patrol, father-of-three Mika Kemppainen, 39, a local chef, says that he joined the group after gangs of migrants took pictures of his children at school. ‘It is disturbing to see how they are,’ he says. ‘I saw them taking pictures by the school fence every day when I came to collect my boy. When I tried to speak to them, they walked away. I could tell they had bad intentions.
‘I have no problem with color or culture. It is not a racist thing. We are just trying to keep the streets safe. We are not Nazis. We are just patriots of this fine country, Finland.’
With snow continuing to fall, Jani pulls out his phone and shows MailOnline a picture of a dark-skinned man kissing a young girl. ‘She is 12 years old,’ he says. ‘A local person passed us the picture and we tracked the girl down. We told her parents and they called the police. That is what we do and why we are needed. The police are doing nothing. That’s why we’re here.’
Finland, which has a population of 5.5million and is experiencing its deepest recession in two decades, has received 32,000 migrants since August, more than 10 times the previous year. Authorities are struggling to cope. The country has been forced to open 105 migrant shelters. In August, there were just three.
With fewer than 8,000 police officers in the country, Law enforcement is vastly outmanned by the refugees. This makes the situation even worse and creates a need for citizens to take enforcement issues into their own hands. Police chiefs have publicly warned that they are stretched to breaking point.
Last week, the Government announced that it will follow Sweden’s lead and deport 20,000 migrants in chartered planes. It has also announced it will slash the €92 weekly handout to migrants, and has tried to discourage their arrival on Facebook. But many fear that this is too little, too late. According to Vidhya Ramalingam, an expert on anti-minority violence at the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies (GIRDS), the rise of the Soldiers of Odin is a reflection of political failure.
‘People feel that they cannot control the demographic change that is taking place around them,’ she says. ‘They feel that politicians have betrayed the country and the people, additionally they feel unsafe, so they’re starting to take matters into their own hands.’
About 3,000 migrants, mainly Iraqis, have left Finland since October. According to the police figures, fewer than 1,000 migrants are suspected of a crime. But the number of violent and sexual offences among migrants has increased; this, officers say, may be due to the high number of young men in the immigrant community.
‘We are aware of the repulsive phenomenon of group sexual harassment of women by foreigners,’ says Korhonen. ‘The safety situation in Finland is good, but I worry how we will manage to maintain that in the future.’
We are aware of the repulsive phenomenon of group sexual harassment of women by foreigners. The safety situation in Finland is good, but I worry how we will manage to maintain that in the future. Seppo Korhonen, deputy police chief
Law enforcement officials are already dealing with a wave of anti-migrant anger. When a 14-year-old girl was raped by an Afghan migrant in central Finland last year, furious protests took place. Shortly afterwards, a migrant shelter in Kankaanpaa was burnt to the ground. There have also been impromptu checkpoints and provocative demonstrations along the border.
Kuosmanen says ‘Everyone knows that Islam is a violent religion. They are coming into our country like a Trojan horse. They are already here, and war is coming. It’s different. Islam is twisted.’
While government, officials show no love for The ‘Odins’, as they are colloquially known, among the general population, they enjoy significant local approval. Earlier this month, the Finnish Finance Minister, Alexander Stubb, said they should be banned. The group’s Facebook page acquired 7,000 new likes overnight.
This support can also be seen on the streets. As the men move through the center of town, drawing sidelong glances from many locals, a former Special Forces officer who gives his name as Timo stops to give them the thumbs-up. ‘You are heroes in bomber jackets,’ he says.
Ari Kuronen, director of the Joensuu Red Cross refugee shelter, is deeply concerned. ‘The Soldiers of Odin are making trouble,’ he says. ‘Even Finnish people are afraid. ‘There are only two possible results. Either they will stop patrolling, or there will be dangerous battles in the street. At the moment, nobody knows which way it will go.’
That last comment is not really true. Anyone with a brain knows which way it will go. The only question is how long it will be before the lid blows off and either one or both sides decide it is time to have it out once and for all.
Fox News and the Daily Mail contributed to this report.
©2016 R. L. Grimes