Sweden frets over online youth 'self-radicalization'

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Sweden frets over online youth 'self-radicalization'

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombings, the Swedish government is set to boost funding to help prevent young people from being "self-radicalized" through online exposure to political and religious extremist views.


The Swedish government has expressed concern over young people they see as at risk of being attracted to extremist views discovered online and is ready to put over 2 million kronor ($304,000) to make it harder for extremists to recruit young Swedes via social media sites and other internet channels.

"We see a global trend today and it's growing. Not least in the aftermath of what happened in Boston just one week ago and I think we should take this extremely seriously," EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson told Sveriges Television (SVT).

Ohlsson's comments come following the bombing attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last Monday which left three dead and an estimated 200 people injured.

With fears of similar incidents in Sweden, the government is looking to put money into a new programme to counter "self-radicalization" through anti-democratic messages spreading among young Swedes online.

The programmeis also designed to increase young people's media awareness.

The new programme will focus primarily on helping young men who are thought to be especially susceptible to the influence of extremist messages discovered online and who can't be stopped and caught using traditional techniques, Ohlsson said.

"We see so many of these 'lone wolves' who can become extremists, start out on the net. It's important that we can catch these individuals in time. And those people working with the youths must have the right tools," she told SVT.

These "lone wolves" can be found in both the far right and left, as well as among extremist religious groups.

Provided the project gets the green light from the government as expected on Thursday, the work will begin immediately, concentrating on 12- to 18-year-olds.

TT/The Local/og

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