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Ministry: Extremism “not a threat” in Finland

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior says that some 20 people have travelled to Syria to join the conflict. Although it says fighters returning to Finland might be more likely to use violence in the future, the ministry does not view violent extremism as a threat in the country.

Syyrian armeijan sotilaita partiossa Homsin esikaupungissa.
Syyrian armeijan sotilaita partiossa Homsin esikaupungissa 7. heinäkuuta. Image: EPA

“According to information in the press, one Finn and one person who lived in Finland have died in the fighting in Syria,” the ministry said in a statement on the extent of violent extremism in Finland.

The press release came a week after Turun Sanomat published a story claiming that hundreds of extremist jihadists were living in Turku. That article was followed by an incendiary blog post written by a Finns party MP who claimed that the Koran teaches Muslims that their duty is to kill non-believers and Jews.

The Ministry’s statement, however, points out that up to the end of July police had arrested around 30 people for crimes related to extremism. The majority of them were linked to far-right groups.

The ministry does believe that people from all over Europe have been drawn to take part in the Syrian civil war, and that some twenty persons, possibly more, have travelled from Finland.

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