As part of the D.Rad horizon project (De-Radicalisation in Europe and Beyond: Detect, Resolve, Reintegrate), we have written reports regarding topics such as radicalisation and polarisation in Finland. D.Rad is a comparative study that aims to identify the actors, networks, and wider social contexts driving radicalisation, particularly among young people in urban and peri-urban areas.
The first country report Stakeholders of (De-)Radicalisation in Finland presents the Finnish situation regarding terrorism, radicalisation, and de-radicalisation during past 20 years. Based on a desk study, the report’s sources include scientific literature, publications of public authorities, nationally relevant news media, and party programmes. The welfare state plays a key role in Finnish ‘implicit’ de-radicalisation policies, while ‘explicit’ de-radicalisation policies rely on cross-sectoral collaboration including public authorities and CSOs, often on project funding. The report is part of the D.Rad project studying (de-)radicalisation in 17 countries, co-funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the EU.
By radicalisation, we mean a process involving the increasing rejection of established law, order, and politics and the active pursuit of alternatives, in the form of politically driven violence or justification of violence (i.e. radicalisation here refers to violent forms of radicalisation). By de-radicalisation we mean processes countering such rejection at individual (micro), organisational (meso), or societal (macro) levels resulting in a shift from violent to nonviolent strategies and tactics.
While political violence has been relatively rare in the 21st century in Finland and violence is generally condemned in the state speech, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service SUPO estimates that the threat for both far-right and radical-Islamist violent extremism is elevated, with the far right being the biggest treat. The report introduces the most central agents and channels of radicalisation as well as stakeholders and channels of de-radicalisation. The D.Rad report aggregates networks of radicalisation, which are loosely connected in the Finnish context.
Far right and radical Islamism form the biggest threat of violent radicalisation in Finland. Overall, there has been a relatively low amount of serious violence from the far right especially when it is compared with violent material online. Radical Islamist activity consists mostly of non-violent action such as recruitment or financing. Additionally, people have travelled to conflict zones and back. Far right is highly networked in Finland and it has some connections to party politics as well although they are ambiguous. The radical Islamist network is not especially organized, although the information regarding it is scarce. While the state mainly prevents radicalisation through its welfare and education policies, there are policies that might contribute to radicalisation, such as ethnic profiling.
Finnish de-radicalisation policies focus on prevention and multi-professional cooperation between different public authorities and civil society. CSOs have an important role in implementing de-radicalization policies, which brings them closer to the grassroots level but simultaneously poses problems for their resources and continuity because of the project-based nature of the action. It is crucial to have continuing de-radicalization programmes, as they are now funded for only a few years at a time. Since radicalisation and political violence have been publicly recognised as phenomena in the Finnish context only during recent years, explicit de-radicalisation measures and traditions are at an early stage of development.
You can find the whole report on Finland here.
Upcoming reports on Finland:
Trends of radicalisation
De-radicalisation and integration legal and policy framework
Cultural drivers of radicalisation