Criticism against extremism report

Sweden needs to get better at preventing young people from joining violent extremist groups.That is the view of a government backed investigation into extremism, which will be presented on Monday. However, the report has been criticised by three of the investigators involved, who wrote a debate article in Sunday's edition of Dagens Nyheter, claiming that it lumped all extremists together as one group.

The report into violent extremism in Sweden also urged Sweden's municipalities to undergo much of the prevention work at youth level.

"There are quite a few individuals who are involved. At the same time,we know that it will have hugely negative consequences if they get the chance to do what they want. The knowledge of it in the country needs to grow," said Eskil Franck, the government's special investigator appointed to prevent violent extremism, to news agency TT.

Eskil Franck is the Curator of the Living History Forum and had help from some 15 experts, including Helene Loow, Daniel Poohl and Christer Mattsson, who wrote a debate article in Sunday's Dagens Nyheter newspaper criticising some of the conclusions in the report.

"Breivik was not a confused teenager when he began his journey from desk warrior to full-scale terrorist," they wrote.

The three experts believe that the training materials that will be developed for use by municipalities, are based on outdated stereotypes of who is drawn to violent political groups. Above all, they turn against the social factors mentioned in the report as a root cause of a why a person is recruited, and not ideology. According to the debaters, this is a consequence of having met people who left extremist groups because of problems with psycho-social ill-health.

They wrote in DN that these people who leave these groups often report that it was the social factors that caused them to join, but their evidence said nothing about those who choose to stay in these extreme environments. Those who stay are often anything but misfits in general, they write.

Eskil Franck told TT that Sweden will look to Denmark as a success story.In Denmark, work to counter recruitment into extremist groups has been successful, said Franck.

"They've made ​​more progress in a systematic cooperation at a local level.They call it the SSP, schools, social services and the police, who share knowledge, knowledge of people and situations. And then jointly discuss measures to show concern for the individual," Eskil Franck said to TT.

Sweden's Intelligence Service, SÄPO, believes that there are currently around 400 people who are in these groups who are prepared to use violence, writes TT. The investigators,however, believe it is possible to reduce the new recruitment of young people.

However, one of the investigators, Daniel Poohl, chief editor of Expo magazine, which examines far-right groups, told TT that it was dangerous to lump all extremists together as a group. For him,one must distinguish between the extreme right, extreme left and Islamists who have completely different ideologies.

He said:"The search for similarities makes you blind to what is specific to them and it is rather that which is specifically relevant to schools, youth groups or the police."