Finland: Somali population growing fast
At the beginning of the year Finland had 11,881 residents speaking the Somali language as their mother tongue. About three fifths of them were born in Somalia.
Nobody knows what the figures will show ten years from now.
In recent years the number of Somali-speaking people in Finland has increased by nearly ten per cent in a year. Some of them are asylum seekers, and some are people who have been granted residence permits on the basis of family ties, while many are children who were born in Finland
In the Helsinki region, about half of the growth in the Somali population involves children born in Finland.
Of the 1,180 Somalis who applied for asylum in Finland last year, 548 were granted a residence permit.
The number of Somali asylum seekers has decreased considerably this year, and if the same pace continues, there will be about 600 by the end of the year.
Nearly all Somali asylum seekers whose applications are approved apply for residence permits for family members as well. At the end of this year, there were about 6,000 applications for immigration based on family ties, says Heikki Taskinen, director of the immigration unit of the Finnish Immigration Service.
Cultures gradually blend in with each other. Researcher Heini Lehtonen says that speech patterns of young Finns in the East of Helsinki already show signs of an indirect influence of the Somali language.
Abib says that many Somalis who have adapted to Finland are so accustomed to silence that a more loud style of conversation annoys them.
“Young people get to know each other at school and in military service. Gradually attitudes change when they notice that we’re all people in the same way”, Mukhtar Abib says.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
Source: HS (English)