Copenhagen creates group to fight radicalization

Swedish terrorism expert to head anti-radicalization group

Copenhagen will be setting up an expert group to help identify and address radicalization problems as concern grows in the country over terrorism threats and the radicalization of youth.

Swedish terrorism expert, Magnus Ranstorp, who is also the research director at the National Defence College in Stockholm, will lead the group, reports DR.

“We are so lucky that Magnus Ranstorp has agreed to chair [this group],” Anna Mee Allerslev, the mayor of the employment and integration committee, told DR. “[The group will] come up with some clear recommendations for how to improve our anti-radicalization efforts.”

Berlingske reports that radicalization is increasing rapidly in Copenhagen. Last year, 60 inquiries were sent to the municipality’s anti-radicalization unit, called HINTS, which marked a 50 percent increase. Thirty-four of those came within the last three months and 26 were related to Syria, Iraq and IS.

Stepping up efforts
Allerslev sees this increase in inquiries and the growing threat against Denmark as reason enough to create this new expert group.

“I believe both Aarhus and Copenhagen has been at the forefront,” she told DR. “We must also say that the threat landscape has changed … young people are being manipulated in a new way.”

Focus on family
Ranstorp will be focusing particularly on how the municipality can create a closer relationship with families who have young children and adolescents who may be at risk of being radicalized.

“We must be closer to the people who move among the radicalized: that is parents, friends, acquaintances,” Ranstorp told Berlingske. “We need to build their confidence in the police and the municipality so we can detect danger signals faster and may prevent young people from becoming radicalized.

The expert group will be comprised of municipality representatives, the police and researchers.  Their recommendations will be presented in August.