Broad-based extremism remains low in Finland: ministry

2013-01-22 21:32:49 GMT2013-01-23 05:32:49(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HELSINKI, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The risk of broad-based violence remained low in Finland despite the random operations by the right-wing extremists, according to a review released by Finnish Ministry of the Interior on Monday.

Finland, a peaceful Nordic country thronged by more foreign immigrants and visitors in recent years, has increasingly faced threats by extremism including so-called right-wing, left-wing, and violent radicalism.

The latest safety review, the first of its kind in Finland, was made by National Cooperation Network for Prevention of Violent Extremism, a mechanism set up by the ministry last October.

A released summary of the review said the violence remained local, random and isolated in Finland, but the security threats caused by racism and religious radicalization still existed.

"Violent extremism does not threat the country's security currently, but the right-wing extremists and the violent Islamic extremists may pose security threat to individuals locally," it said.

Concerning the right-wing extremism, the summary mentioned neo-Nazi, Skinhead and Finnish Resistance Movement, saying that these groups were small and the activities were quite limited. However, the Finnish Resistance Movement was considered as potentially dangerous as it was organised, anti-democracy and combative in nature.

In addition, racism remained a main reason for the Skinhead crimes. The members of Skinhead usually used sticks to hurt people, and this increased the risk of serious injuries.

Although it was found the risk of violence related to radical Islam was minimal in Finland, the ministry warned that committed and disciplined groups of Islamic extremists could pose a significant threat both at a local level and to the whole society.

What concerned most were the second and third generations of immigrants with Muslim background. The review found that some of the youngsters neither accepted Finnish culture nor had any sense of belonging to their parents' culture. The marginalization of these young people increased the risk of religious radicalisation.

In recent years, signs of racist extremism and xenophobia have become evident in northern and eastern European countries. In July 2011, 77 people were killed in Finland's neighboring country Norway by one gunman, who was suspected as a right-wing extremist.

Former Finnish President Tarja Halonen called for several times on the society to act boldly against racism, and she urged the government to take an anti-racism action.

In an effort to "make Finland the safest country in Europe," the Ministry of the Interior formed the National Cooperation Network for Prevention of Violent Extremism, which would monitor extremism, provide information to authorities and recommend preventive measures.

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