No. 36




Theoretical premises for Islamic radicalism, and the perception thereof in the responsible agencies of Estonia

07 December 2017


RiTo No. 36, 2017

The importance of the topic is related to counter-radicalization activity, and its effectiveness proven through scientific theories and practice. This topic is relatively new in Estonia and is lacking academic research so far.

The main topic is to find out the threats caused by Islamic radicalisation, and the currently used preventive measures in Estonia. The aim is to identify the hazards associated with Islamic radicalisation, and the preventive measures that are being used to prevent radicalism.

As for the main results, in assessments of the causes of radicalisation, Estonian experts largely follow the theoretical considerations of social reasons, access to education, and relative deprivation. The failure of integration is also mentioned as one of the main reasons for radicalisation. Highly probable is the growth of Islamic radicalisation as a response to the rise of extreme right-wing phenomena in society.

  • The religious ideology of radicalisation in the underlying cause is not visible. It is understood that the Islamic community in Estonia is small and peaceful. However, the author’s opinion is that immigrants and religious coverts are more radical in their religious beliefs and practices. The missing link between religion and Islamic radicalisation goes against both theory and international experience.
  • The assessment of the threats to society related to Islamic radicalisation is described very differently as compared with other countries. The biggest threat is considered to be related to the polarisation of society and the consequent prospering of the potential hostile action of Russia. The classic terrorist attack is not particularly seen as a threat. The biggest threat is considered to emerge from refugees and new immigrants. No “old” Islamic community or religious converts are considered a major threat.
  • The cooperation between different government agencies in order to prevent radicalism is good. It is commonly agreed that refugees must undergo a pre-selection procedure before being accepted here. There is a need to enhance general awareness of radicalisation in society. It is also important to review the relevant legal framework. Proper training programmes are also in high demand. A significant disadvantage is the absence of a de-radicalisation programme directed at Estonian specificities.

Based on the above, respective recommendations for related authorities were made.