Ministry of the Interior released a press release about violent extremist groups and hate speech in Finland. According to the report, “Different parts of Finland are reporting engagement in activities by violent extremist movements. Violent non-parliamentary far right movements are active in the areas of all police departments. In some areas, there are also reports of activities of violent non-parliamentary far left groups, mainly anarchists and anti-fascists. These conclusions are presented in the new situation overview of violent extremism.”
In the report, Ministry of the Interior said DAES (also referred to as ISIS or ISIL) is still the biggest threat in a global scale and it has a significant impact on radicalization and mobilization within Finland. Also, hate speech has increased, creating a breeding ground for violent extremism and radicalization. Anti-Semitism has also been rearing its head over the past year.
Tarja Mankkine, Head of Development, Police Department, Ministry of the Interior said, “It is important that preventive measures are based on a shared understanding and awareness of situations. The activities of violent non-parliamentary far right groups have become more visible in Finland, while the related terrorist threat has increased in Europe and more widely. The activities of violent far right movements feed the activities of violent anarchists and anti-fascists. The threat associated with violent radical Islamism has not disappeared either.”
THREAT OF TERRORISM
The most significant terrorist threat is posed by “radical Islamist terrorism”. The threat of terrorism in Finland is still at the second level, or ‘elevated’, on the four-tier scale of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service.
According to the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service, there are substantial activities taking place in Finland in support of terrorism and there are identified persons and groups with the motivation and ability to carry out a terrorist attack. The most likely form of attack is a simple one that could be carried out with easily available tools. The use of firearms and explosives is also possible.
The report said, “Hate speech has increased, and this has created a breeding ground for violent extremism and radicalization. Violent extremist groups are spreading hate speech with the aim of recruiting more supporters to adopt their ideas. Hate speech that incites violence is dangerous, as it can encourage individuals to commit acts of violence. Hate campaigns and online shaming are aimed at having a wider impact on society. Hate speech has far-reaching effects and it is particularly harmful when directed at vulnerable individuals and groups.”
The report also points out that, it is primarily expressed in Finland as anti-Semitic rhetoric, propaganda, vandalism and the threat of violence. There have been terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in Europe.
Ministry of the Interior mentioned, “In Finland, there are a few openly anti-Semitic right-wing groups, of which the Nordic Resistance Movement (Pohjoismainen Vastarintaliike) is the most clearly anti-Semitic.
FAR RIGHT AND FAR LEFT
In its report, the Ministry of the Interior also remarked the threat of the violent far right is manifested, for example, as spontaneous street violence against perceived enemies who may be selected as victims at random.
According to the report, “The fear and feeling of insecurity created by the violent far right may also weaken everyday safety and security, especially in areas where the activities of these groups are visible. At the same time, actions taken by the violent non-parliamentary far left have been less common in Finland over the past few years and, as a rule, they take the form of demonstrations.”