|Regions with significant populations|
|Finland||600-700 (year 2020) |
|Tatar (Mishar Tatar), Finnish, Swedish|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Mishar Tatars and other Volga Tatars|
The Tatars of Finland (Mishar: Finlandiya Tatarları, Финляндия татарлары; Finnish: Suomen tataarit; Swedish: Finländska tatarer) are an ethnic Volga Tatar diaspora in Finland, who espouse the Muslim faith. They number approximately 600–700. The first tatars came to Finland in late 1800's and early 1900's from Russia. They have integrated successfully into Finnish society, without losing their own identity.
The Finnish Tatar community formed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when tatars started moving in from Russia. Most of them were from Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, from the tatar-villages located in Sergachsky District. They were mainly Mishar Tatars, who's source of livelihood in their home villages was from farming, but due to not making enough, they had to find another way to make money. Hence, many of them also became merchants, who specialized in selling fabrics, clothes and furs. Saint Petersburg had become a cosmopolitan city, which they saw as a good location to make business in. The distance from there to Finland wasn't long, so it was easy for them to eventually make their way into the country. Later, they established their own shops in Finland, that sold same type of commodities they used to sell as merchants.
What made settling to Finland even easier was the completion of the Riihimäki - Saint Petersburg railroad in 1870. When land ownership conditions in Russia were weakened and correspondingly they were met with success in Finland, eventually it made more sense for them to settle to the country.
When they were settled in Finland, they felt a need to secure their religious and cultural life in this new environment. Their first registered association was in 1915 and it was called Helsingin Musulmaanien Hyväntekeväisyysseura (translation: The Charity Club of Helsinki's Muslims). One of the founding members was a man named Weli-Ahmed Hakim, who would later become the first Imam of their religious congregation. The purpose of this club was mostly to help the poor and support the project of establishing their own school. Tatars were sent in summer courses to Terijoki, where there already had been formed a strong Muslim community. Establishing the actual congregation required for a freedom of religion -law to be passed. This desire was met with resistance from the Finns at first but the law was eventually passed in November, 1922.
In 1925, they sent an application to the Ministry of Education for the congregation to be formed and based on this, Suomen Muhamettilainen Seurakunta (translation: The Mohammedan Congregation of Finland, which later became Finland's islam-congregation) was registered. Finland became the first northern country to recognize an Islamic congregation, and the second western country to do so (after Austria, in 1908.)
The tatars in Finland kept in touch with people in Saint Petersburg/Petrograd/Leningrad, until 1930. Political changes, tightening control and persecution broke the relationships and separated relatives, friends and trade partners.
Over 150 tatars fought for Finland in the Winter War and Continuation War. Ten were killed. A memory plate with the names of those ten who lost their lives was put in their own congregation's wall in 1987.
Tatars in Finland espouse their faith in The Finnish-Islamic Congregation. In addition to its religious duties, its purpose is also to preserve the unity among tatars, which is why it doesn't accept anyone else as its members. It is located in Fredrikinkatu, Helsinki.
Tatars have been very involved in creating their own art in Finland. Music for example, has been used as something that is supposed entertain but also keep up a kind of group spirit, and bring a balance to their religious life. Most of their music originates from their home villages in Nizhny Novgorod. This old music tradition, which arrived in Finland with the first tatars, is based on folk songs. One of the performers in their events has been the tatar band Başkarma.
The earlier generations were very active in their own theater scene as well. They were often performed in a theater called Tampereen Teatteri, where tatars were invited from around the country. Invitation cards were at first written by hand and tatar schoolchildren created the leaflets for them. The first tatar language play in Finland was called Aliye Banu. The same plays were often repeated due to the lack of tatar-language material.
Early Tatars also wrote and published books in their own language.
The tatar food culture has remained and continued from one generation to another, from mothers to daughters. Their food culture is a big and important part of their heritage and cultural identity. The foods of Finnish tatars could be divided into the following groups: soups, meat -based foods, pastries and porridges. One of the most known foods among the tatars in Finland is the Peremech-pie, which is called Pärämäts in local dialect. It was popularized in the city of Tampere.
In addition to speaking the languages that are normally spoken in Finland (Finnish, Swedish), they speak their own language, which is a Sergachsky District mishar dialect. The earlier generation also spoke and wrote Arabic. At one point, they had some of their own language schools as well. They often used the name "Turkish/Turkic" in the names of those schools (for example: Tampereen Turkkilainen Äidinkielenkoulu (translation: The Turkic School of Tampere.) This was partly due to the fact that originally, the first generations tried to find their new identity in their "turkishness", because "tatar" had become a bad word in those times. Some embraced the Turkic identity so much, they traveled there and even got Turkey's citizenships.
In Finland, tatars continued the sports tradition of their ancestors. In the home villages in Russia, different sports activities were very important. In the summer, after plowing and other springwork had been completed, those tatars would arrange a celebration called Sabantuy, where they would compete for example in different runningsports, highjump, climbing, weightlifting and wrestling. That first generation of Finnish Tatars then encouraged their children to take part in sports in their new home country. And so they did. Tatars were seen most represented in football and ice hockey.
Some notable Finnish Tatars
- Ymär Abdrahim, merchant, shopkeeper 
- Zinnetullah Ahsen Böre, merchant, publisher 
- Ymär Daher, influencer, deputy judge, doctor of philosophy and docent of turkology 
- Aisa Hakimjan, merchant, artist, publisher and leader 
- Räshid Hakimsan, hockey player 
- Weli-Ahmed Hakim, imam 
- Hasan Hamidulla, writer, publisher and businessman 
- Jasmin Hamid, actress, politician and investor 
- Atik Ismail, former footballer 
- Hasan Kanykoff, merchant and political activist 
- Gibadulla Murtasin, teacher, leader and artist 
- Lotfi Nasib, hockey player 
- Räshid Nasretdin, photographer 
- Ymär Sali, merchant, shopkeeper, businessman, leader and entrepreneur 
- Semiulla Wafin, shopkeeper, leader, publisher and a teacher 
- Volga Tatars
- Mishar Tatars
- Mishar Tatar dialect
- Tatar language
- Tatar name
- Turks in Finland
- The Finnish-Islamic Congregation
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