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Countering right-wing extremism: lessons from Germany and Norway


Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Journal Article
The growing threat of right-wing extremism (RWE) creates challenges for countering violent extremism (CVE) strategies. For countries like Australia with little historical background in countering RWE, there is a need to update and adapt CVE programs that were developed in response to homegrown Islamist extremism. In Western Europe and Scandinavia, the reverse is often true: a longer history of addressing the threat from neo-Nazi and ethno-nationalist groups means their CVE programs were designed originally for RWE, and have only since been adapted in response to the Islamist threat. Knowledge about what constitutes effective CVE remains scarce, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that these different historical contexts impact on the design and success of contemporary CVE efforts. Given this, the paper asks what researchers and policymakers might learn from comparative experiences with countering RWE. It conducts case studies of CVE efforts in Germany and Norway, which both have a longer history of countering RWE. Each case study examines these countries’ CVE efforts in historical context. The paper concludes by offering some lessons and principles that may be useful for other countries seeking to counter RWE.

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