Radicalisation and PREPARE project: working session between Vilvoorde and Exit Sweden/Fryshuset

Stockholm, Sweden, November 2018 – As part of the PREPARE European project on the prevention of radicalisation in prison and in probation, Efus took part in a two-day meeting between representatives of the city of Vilvoorde, in Belgium, and the organisation Exit Sweden/Fryshuset, on 18-19 October in Stockholm. Whereas Vilvoorde is primarily concerned with religious-based extremism, Exit Sweden, which works jointly with the Swedish youth organisation Fryshuset, focuses on right-wing extremism and helps individuals move away from such ideology.


> Sharing Swedish expertise on right-wing extremism

The aim of this visit was to share Swedish expertise on right-wing extremism: how such groups interact, with what motivation, and how they recruit new supporters. To do so, participants met with several actors who design targeted interventions and specialised tools.

The first session covered an overview of right-wing extremism in Sweden, which has international roots and connections. Topics such as the different right-wing organisations present in Sweden, their history, and violence and crime linked to this phenomenon were addressed, as well as factors of radicalisation and the on-going polarisation between different types of violent extremism. The speakers also drew comparisons with the Belgian/Flemish context.

The second session of the day was devoted to the Exit Sweden programme, which is part of the international Exit scheme that assists individuals in leaving the extreme right-wing movement and start a new life (there are also Exit programmes in Germany and the USA, among other countries). The session considered a range of aspects such as preparing the groundwork, staff, training, working partners and risk assessment, and how these can be applied in the Flemish context.

On the second day, a presentation was given by a British psychologist and imam, Alyas Karwani, who is also co-director of STREET-UK, which works with youngsters in deprived neighbourhoods with the aim, among others, of preventing religious extremism.

After that, participants were given a presentation on the practice of motivational interviewing, which is a counselling approach that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behaviour.

Following these rich exchanges, participants from both Vilvoorde and Sweden agreed to further their exchanges and partnership.

Started in October 2017 for a duration of two years, the European-funded PREPARE project seeks to contribute to the prevention of radicalisation through disengagement and rehabilitation programmes during release and probation.
For more information, visit PREPARE’s page on Efus website: https://efus.eu/en/topics/risks-forms-of-crime/radicalisation/public/14239/