Violent far-right extremism continues to pose a threat to community safety and national security. Its impact is felt on a daily basis by individuals and communities across Europe. Though often rooted in its local context, far-right extremism has impacts across borders. The FREE Initiative is the first to showcase what is being done to tackle far-right extremism across Europe, and promote cross-border learning.
The most visible cases are those that hit the headlines, such as Breivik’s attacks in Norway or the discovery of the NSU terrorist cell operating for decades in Germany. Though attacks of this magnitude remain rare, they are not unheard of. However, the bulk of the threat is felt through smaller-scale hate crime, harassment, and intimidation. These kinds of incidences often go undetected, and they are hard to quantify – but they leave some communities living in fear.
The FREE Initiative is built on the experiences of those on the front line tackling far-right extremism. This includes youth workers, police officers, former extremists and survivors of far-right violence. It also includes those working at the highest levels of policy, writing national action plans to counter extremism. Explore our interactive graphics, ‘how-to’ guides, and resources on what is being done, and what methods work best.
Watch our film series to hear the stories of those who are on the streets having the hard conversations with far-right activists, those who have rid entire towns of neo-Nazi gangs, and those who have pushed hundreds of violent extremists to leave the scene. Listen to the stories of survivors of far-right violence, who share their stories to prevent attacks like this from happening again.
Fiyaz is the Founder and Director of the interfaith and anti-extremism organisation, Faith Matters. He runs an anti-Muslim hatred helpline and hate crime monitoring service, called Tell MAMA.
Alex is a Caseworker and Trainer with the Violence Prevention Network. He works closely with young people that are susceptible to or involved in far-right extremist movements, using de-radicalisation methods and building on his own past experiences from within the far-right scene.
Robert runs of EXIT Fryshuset. EXIT helps individuals disengage from violence and leave the white power movement in Sweden. Robert builds on his own experiences from within the far-right scene.
Lars works with Violence Prevention Network. The Network helps to de-radicalise young people that are susceptible to far-right extremism and fundamentalism. VPN works in youth detention centres and prisons.
Joan works with the Safer Luton Partnership, which works across statutory, business, voluntary, and community partners to support victims of crime and reduce risks of victimisation. She has spent many years as a local Councillor, and has piloted some of the most innovative methods of dealing with the EDL.
Rachel is Research and Policy Director at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. She is currently focusing on delivering effective counter-narratives to extremism, making innovative use of films and social media to make content that can reach those who are most vulnerable.
Peter is Director of the Political Capital Institute and co-chair of the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network. The Political Capital Institute provides risk forecasts on the demand for and impact of right-wing extremism, particularly in Eastern Europe. His latest work include guidance on how to undermine conspiracy theories from the far right.
Jallow is Vice-Chair of the European Network Against Racism. He is also spokesperson for the National Association of Afro-Swedes, and a prominent human rights activist.
Maria is a criminologist and an expert in terrorism and extremist violence. She is working in Greece to initiate projects against violent radicalization (prevention and disengagement) and notably far-right violence.
Johannes is Coordinator of the No-Nazi.net project run by Amadeu Antonio Stiftung. The project seeks to create effective counter-strategies to far-right extremists’ use of the internet and social networks.
Bjørn is Crime Preventive Police Coordinator for the Oslo Police District in Norway. He
developed a method called ‘The Empowerment Conversation’ which helps to empower young
people to leave far-right street gangs. Bjørn’s method has been successful in ridding entire
neighbourhoods of neo-Nazi gangs.
Nadeem is Chief Inspector with Greater Manchester Police, Rochdale Division. His division empowers local communities to work alongside police during far-right demonstrations, to build community resilience to the provocative nature of EDL demonstrations.
András is a journalist and director of a series of short moving films commemorating the victims of Roma serial killings in Hungary from 2008-2009. The film has helped to raise awareness the failures of the state the police, as well as the victims’ struggles for justice.
Michal is part of the Coalition Against Bias Motivated Hate Crimes. He works to promote and protect the rights of the LGBT community in Poland, a primary target of far-right violence in the country.
Nicky is a youth worker with the Ethnic Youth Support Team in Swansea, Wales. He works on the Think Project, a programme building resilience to the appeal of far-right ideologies among disengaged white youth. He helps equip young people with the knowledge and experience to refute and challenge racist myths.
Chris is a front-line worker with the Ethnic Youth Support Team in Swansea, Wales. He works on the Think Project, a programme building resilience to the appeal of far-right ideologies among disengaged white youth. He helps equip young people with the knowledge and experience to refute and challenge racist myths.
Silke runs Cultures Interactive, an organisation that offers youth-cultural activities as a form of intervention with at-risk youth. This includes breakdance, skateboarding, slam poetry, DJ-ing, and graffiti. They run workshops to build communication, self-expression, and conflict resolution skills.
Sarah is a Prevent Coordinator for Luton Borough Council, which has tested some of the most innovative methods of managing EDL demonstrations, including the dissemination of ‘Choice Cards’ to deter young people from getting involved.
Dan is an activist, local politician, and author of the book Right wing extremism in Finland. Dan has spoken out strongly against the far right, and has been targeted by far-right extremists in the past for his activism.
Bjørn is a writer, filmmaker, activist and survivor of the Utøya massacre by Anders Breivik. He works against ideologies of racism, hatred and violent extremism. He is currently producing a film uncovering ideological similarities between right-wing extremists, neo-Nazis and racism and the ideology behind genocide.
“Right-wing extremism is increasing right now and it is very worrying. We see it in almost all countries. It is important now to stand up for our values.”Cecilia Malmström EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.