Åbo Underrättelser, Thursday 24 August 2017
The controversial society lost a member of the knife attack on Friday.
On the western corner of Salutorg Square, Turku grows the sea of flowers and candles in memory of those murdered in Friday's violence. Tim Renvall, resident of Pikis in St. Karins, knows the place well.
Like one of Friday's victims, a member of Jehovah's Witnesses church in Kyrö, he himself has been in the corner of society's journals and literature.
"The last time I stood here was the Tall Ships Races," says Renvall, when the ÅU meets him and Jim Knief at Salutorget.
ÅBOBON Knief is a member of Jehovah's Witnesses Finnish Assembly in Österås. Renvall is a member of the Swedish assembly in Turku, which also includes members of society in Pargas.
They tell us that when Friday's knife attack rolled up in the media they reacted like everyone else.
"I called to check that my daughter was with her mate, then to relatives and friends," said Knief.
WITH the first pictures from Salutorget, there was also concern, says Renvall.
- I recognized the place, and on one picture one could see that a victim was a woman in skirt. Clearly you thought it could be one of us.
When it was clear that this was the case, Renvall and Knief started calling friends in the parishes to make sure they were safe.
They did not know the victim personally, but Jehovah's Witnesses are a fused society and the murder a hard blow.
It is common for people to hang out over parish boundaries, says Knief.
"We usually play football and bobble together with friends. We feel we are close together.
RENVALL tells us that after Friday's violent acts, those who tend to be out among people to spread the message of society have gathered to talk about what happened.
Members have comforted and encouraged each other.
"We have asked questions and we have talked about the fact that this is a traumatic issue and that there is no wrong way to respond," says Renvall.
Have you changed your opinion about standing in Salutorget?
- No. I think, after all, that it was not directed at us. The Bible also teaches that unpredictable events can occur.
In society, members have reacted to the knife attack in different ways, says Renvall, but no one has questioned that Jehovah's Witnesses should continue to be out among people.
FASTER, society has increased its presence among people because overall feedback has been positive.
"It is popular among community members to stand outside. In addition, we easily recognize each other in Jehovah's Witnesses when we move in other countries, "Knief says.
EVERYTHING Knief, society has also received a lot of support from the rest of society.
Jehovah's Witnesses are a controversial movement. Therefore, it is extraordinary that people showed their participation, he says.
HOW do you interpret violence as it is on Friday if you compare with the social debate currently under way?
"Our vision differs from the rest of society. We believe that we live in the last days of evil and that the murder of this battle, but also all other devastation, is a sign of it, "says Renvall.
KNIEF flies in that, although their interpretation of the Bible is nothing but the ongoing discussion of immigration, police resources and legislation, Jehovah's Witnesses appreciate the police's efforts for law and order.
- Therefore we pay taxes. Our religion does not allow us to prejudice anyone.
Is there anything in your faith that makes you handle these things better than others?
- Both yes and no. There are certainly people who are trained to do this, but the Bible gives us comfort. It is an additional support, "said Renvall.
"But we are not robots," Knief said.
WHEN Jehovah's Witnesses stand out with their magazines and literature, they never take the initiative to talk to people. The conversation is always started by someone else.
Neither Renvall nor Knief have been involved in unpleasant situations, but the community has given instructions on how to act if they occur.
"Will it be suddenly serious, then we leave. The magazine and literature shelves are not important in such a situation. First of all, we try to calm down potentially violent people by talking to them, "says Renvall."But we will not get up and scratch but try to keep a positive tone," Knief says.