Human rights activist Atik Ali wants to improve the status of minorities other than Tatars in Finland – Kulttuuri

Atik Ali, who has done fundamental and human rights work on behalf of various minorities for more than ten years, considers the Constitutional Law Committee’s decision to allow ritual slaughter to be a great victory for the Muslim and Jewish community.

Vice judgeentrepreneur and human rights activist Atik Ali says and laughs that it is only in recent years that he has reached a calmer pace of work.

“With age, I have become wiser and learned to listen to myself. I start the weekend already on Friday morning. As a young entrepreneur, I didn’t know how to take advantage of the freedoms enough. It took a long time to get wise.”

For the past ten years, Ali has focused more and more on basic and human rights work and pro bono tasks, and Ali says that he takes them possibly even more seriously than his bread work.

He wants to improve the status of non-Tatars in Finland.

“When I graduated as a lawyer, older colleagues gave me an instruction: never run your own business. Considering different minorities increases objectivity.”

Ali was born in Helsinki in 1963. His parents were also born in Finland. The generations before that have come here from the Nizhni Novgorod region.

Ali says that his father was one of the 156 Tatar men who participated in the Finnish wars with 21 Tatar lots.

The family worked in the fur industry, and in addition, Ali’s father had a carpet shop. Ali helped as a salesman and also did bookkeeping for a couple of summers.

In high school, Alia became interested in law. There were no lawyers in the family, so he familiarized himself with the subject in a training course. Ali applied to the Helsinki Faculty of Law and got in.

“Study was just as tiring as I had expected. I read in Hall C of the Domus Academica. We had a deal with the night watchmen and we could read in peace until late in the morning.”

After graduation in 1988, Ali was an assistant member at the Helsinki District Court and acted as a legal advisor. He performed the auscultation in Tuusula county.



Deputy judge Atik Ali reminds us that discrimination is rarely one-dimensional. There are also minorities within minorities, such as Muslims’ own LGBTIQ association. “The effective promotion of human rights requires that we come out of our own silos and build bridges,” he says.

Entrepreneurship and the desire to be one’s own master are, according to Ali, a blood inheritance, and so he opened his own law office in Helsinki in 1990. At its peak, there were also offices in Turku, Tampere and Oulu.

Ali wanted to focus on family and inheritance law, and handled divorce and child custody cases. In addition, the table was also filled with disputes concerning housing and real estate transactions. Soon Ali noticed something surprising.

“Apartment and real estate disputes were often much more burdensome for clients than lawsuits related to children. With smart people, we usually come to an agreement about the children, but in housing matters, the money has been lost, the debt is heavy and the process is slow.”

Ali considers the increase in court costs to be a bad development: you can’t even get to a preparatory session with a tenth of a ton, and if the interest is not greater, you should just forget about it.

“It is discriminatory. The poor who receive legal aid, as well as the rich, can go to court, but it is difficult for the middle class who are left in the middle. The legal protection benefit of the insurance does not go very far.”

of the 2010s in the middle of the year, Ali served as the chairman of USKOT-forumi ry, a religious cooperation organization, while the then foreign minister Timo Soini (ps) asked him to join the Human Rights in Finland’s Foreign Policy network.

Today, Ali is a member of both the human rights delegation operating in connection with the Human Rights Center and the international human rights advisory board operating under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The Human Rights Center is doing great work and has achieved a lot with little resources.”

Two things in particular have recently pleased Ali in his basic and human rights work. The first big thing was securing the diet of religious minorities in 2021.

A mention of it was included in Finland’s seventh periodic report of the UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Second an important line was the constitutional committee’s vote on allowing ritual slaughter in the future. In this, as well as in the issue of male circumcision, Ali has worked “horribly” together with the Jewish community.

The ritual slaughter sparked heated debate. That didn’t surprise Ali. He is used to loud extremes.

Isn’t it still reasonable to assume that the silent majority also wants animals not to suffer?

“It’s about principle. God knows what will happen next if we give in here. We cannot be denied our own way of slaughtering, if hunting is still allowed, during which the wounded animal often suffers much longer.”

Reading the report of the Constitutional Law Committee was indeed an emotional moment for Ali.

“Animal rights did not go above our human rights. Attention has been paid to this in the world, because the topic is current and anti-religion is on the rise,” says Ali.

“The decision raises Finland’s country brand and reminded us again how Finland is probably the best place to live as a minority.”



  • Born in Helsinki in 1963.

  • Graduate 1982, Finnish Co-educational School of Helsinki.

  • Bachelor of Laws 1988, Helsinki Faculty of Law. Deputy judge 1989.

  • Own law office in Helsinki since 1990. There were also other offices in Tampere, Turku and Oulu.

  • Order of the Order of the Lion of Finland, 1st class, 2020.

  • Honorary Chairman of the Islamic Society of Finland 2020.

  • Practices fundamental and human rights.

  • Lives in Helsinki. Spouse, two adult children.

  • Turns 60 on Tuesday, March 21.

By Editor