Finland’s Muslims often have to seek advice on religious questions from imams living abroad owing to the lack of qualified clerics at home. Frequently the guidance given from imams via the internet as far away as Saudi Arabia is incompatible with life in Finland. Mosques operating in Finland also appear to shun questions on Islamic doctrine.
Finnish Muslim, Pia Jardi is fully conversant with problems facing Muslims residing in Finland: sound advice is hard to find.
Many devout Muslims get in contact with internet clerics, for instance in Saudi Arabia, to seek guidance on issues such as marriage, divorce, funerals and, for example, matters relating to children.
Jardi says that often the advice given is of no help.
“Their advice doesn’t always fit in with Finnish society. In some cases, their guidance can even be in opposition to Finland’s laws,” Jardi adds.
“Finland has imams who could not serve in the same capacity in their own country owing to the prevailing hierarchy as to who can serve as an imam and who can give spiritual advice. However, in Finland it seems that almost anyone can set themselves up and declare what is truth,” Jardi says.
YLE attempted to get in touch with Finnish mosques and seek their views on questions relating to daily life. Contacts were difficult to find and, in the end, no responses were forthcoming. Neither did the Finnish Islamic Council reply.