The anti-radicalization project led by the Deaconess Foundation’s human rights organization may have to be stopped due to a lack of funding.
The Exit the project has been around for about a year and aims to support radicalized individuals as they break free from violent extremism and ideologies.
The project has helped about 38 people over the past year and currently has 17 people actively involved.
Similar projects to combat radicalization are being implemented by the Central Criminal Police (NBI) and the Criminal Sanctions Agency. However, according to Ilkka Kantola The NGO model of the Deaconess Foundation has certain advantages over the authorities.
"Violent extremism can be associated with intense tensions with government agencies, which in turn can raise the threshold for seeking help. In the case of a third sector organization, that threshold is lower and the basis for building trust is slightly stronger," Kantola explained.
Participants from the extremes of religion, ideology
The concept of violent extremism is not limited to any single religion or ideology, but can be associated with very different and even opposing factions, such as Islamic extremism and neo-Nazi movements.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines violent extremism "encouraging, accepting, justifying or supporting acts of violence for political, ideological, religious, social or economic purposes;".
The worlds of violent extremism are typically divided into violent extremism based on religion or ideology, violent extremism, and violent one-thing movements.
The Deaconess Foundation did not want to disclose background information about the people who participated in the Exit project because it said stamping the participants was unnecessary.
"Customer-oriented contacts have come from both the religious and ideological sides," foundation expert Onni Sarvela told Yle and added that the activities of the project are quite diverse and varied.
"Sometimes we go together to try new hobbies or look for new groups or communities to join. Sometimes we even assemble furniture and discuss things at the same time," he said.
The previous project also ended prematurely
An earlier version of the Exit project, called Radinet, was established and run by Vuolle Setlement’s anti-violence service in Oulu in 2016. Esa HolappaThe former neo-Nazi, who was the leader of the Finnish Resistance Movement (FRM), was one of the project’s mentors.
The project started successfully, with about 80 people registering during the first 12 months until the organizers received additional funding and the project was suspended.
The Deaconess Foundation’s Exit project now has a similar fate, with current funding only supporting the project until the end of this year.
"At this point, there is no certainty about the future. It would be essential for the effectiveness of the project that funding be secured," Kantola said.
Source: The Nordic Page