PET making inroads with extremist exit program

About 50 people from extremist environments are currently in talks with PET

The national intelligence agency, PET, is having success speaking to extremists as part of an exit strategy aimed at preventing terror attacks in Denmark through preventative measures.

About 50 people from extremist environments are currently in talks with PET, and the majority are Islamists, according to Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen, a PET spokesperson.

“When we started the exit program, we thought: 'How can we get them to speak to us?' But we soon found out that there were quite a few of them who actually wanted to talk,” Dalgaard-Nielsen told Politiken newspaper.

Among the 50 or so people who PET is trying to convince to think differently are radicalised youths, who have yet to take part in illegal activities, and several Islamists, who are serving prison sentences for planning terror attacks in Denmark.

READ MORE: Government to build on anti-extremism strategies

Getting results
While Dalgaard-Nielsen said that it was difficult to measure the results of the exit talks, there is no doubt that they are working.

Several Islamists have rejected prison visits from extremist friends as a result, and some Danish Muslims have dropped plans to fight in Syria.

Mehdi Mozaffari, a professor and former head of the Centre for Studies in Islamism and Radicalisation Processes at Aarhus University, applauded the exit program.

“Most Islamists probably feel ostracised from Danish society," Mozaffari told Politiken.

"They see the system as their enemy, and if PET can have a dialogue with them, then that in itself is good."