The terrorist threat assessment is an overview of terrorism

Some right-wing extremists have shown interest in firearms and explosives. Radical Islamist terrorism in Finland currently focuses primarily on support measures, such as recruiting, disseminating propaganda and fundraising. Lone supporters of ideologies remain the most likely source of a terrorist attack. The threat of terrorism remains at level two, i.e. elevated.

Illustration grey concrete staircase.

The threat of terrorism in Finland is elevated, corresponding to level two on the four-point scale. This threat level is unchanged from last year. The most likely threat of a terrorist attack comes from lone operators or small groups advocating far-right or radical Islamist ideology.

Some 390 counter-terrorism targets still give cause for concern. Most of these individuals support radical-Islamist ideology. The list of target individuals is not permanent, and people are continually added and removed.

Ethnic and religious minorities particularly at risk from far-right terrorism

Lone far-right individuals and small groups pose a significant threat of terrorism in Finland. Representatives of ethnic and religious minorities and political policymakers are particularly at risk of violence. Other parties that are viewed as enemies in far-right ideology are also potential targets.

Some right-wing extremists have shown interest in firearms and explosives. A criminal investigation that began in late 2019 found considerable quantities of firearms, explosives and bomb-making materials in the possession of a small far-right group. Investigation of this group operating in Kankaanpää became a counter-terrorism operation during 2021, with the case coming to public attention when the suspects were arrested.

Networking on social media platforms, disseminating propaganda and promoting violent activities are integral to far-right operations. Some Finnish people also have links to Siege culture, where supporters of white supremacy incite violence and race war to bring about social collapse.

While organised and openly operating far-right groups pose no threat of terrorism as such, they create a potential breeding ground for individual radicalisation.

The proportion of minors involved in terrorist activities has increased over the last couple of years. Several arrests of minors related to radical Islamist and far-right terrorism have been made in Europe. Radicalisation of children and young adults in a radical-Islamic environment is often an intergenerational phenomenon in which minors are linked to extremist ideology through their immediate associates. Internationally speaking, young adults typically become involved in far-right movements through online connections. Some young people have been attracted in particular to the international milieu known as Siege culture. The terrorist situation in Finland often reflects international trends. 

Radical Islamist terrorism in Finland focuses on support operations

Terrorism motivated by radical Islamism in Finland mainly focuses on enabling operations such as recruiting, disseminating propaganda and raising funds. The most significant capacity to engage in violent operations is found among individuals who have fought or otherwise worked for terrorist organisations in conflict zones, and those with a violent background.

The threat of a radical Islamist terrorist attack is posed in particular by individuals who, for example, are motivated by terrorist propaganda or by events that they perceive to be offensive to Islam. Attacks by lone individuals using readily available instruments remain the most likely. Radical Islamist terrorist attacks most often take place in public places or at public events. Several perpetrators of attacks in Europe have suffered from mental health problems.

The foreign fighter phenomenon continues to affect the radical Islamist operating environment in Finland. A small number of families arrived in Finland from the conflict zones of Syria and Iraq in 2021. Some women with pro-radical Islamist views and links to Finland are still living in camps with their children in the Kurdish region of north-eastern Syria.

The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan in autumn 2021 has not yet affected the threat of terrorism in Finland. It is unlikely that Afghanistan will attract foreign fighters from Finland in the short term. The rise of the Taliban has inspired some radical Islamist movements, and its example has been highlighted in their propaganda. On the other hand, for example, the Islamic State terrorist organisation (ISIL) is hostile to the Taliban.

The most significant terrorist threat worldwide continues to come from the ISIL and al-Qaeda terrorist organisations, and from groups that swear allegiance to them, especially in the conflict zones of Asia and Africa. The death of ISIL leader Abu Ibrahim al-Quraysh in February 2022 will not significantly affect the threat posed by the organisation.

The threat of other terrorism is low

The threat of terrorism in Finland from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the far left is low. The PKK in Finland has focused primarily on support activities, such as fundraising. The activities of the far left mainly centre on non-violent opposition to the far right and cooperation with Kurdish activists. Support for violence is minimal among those with far-left views in Finland, and the activities of this faction are primarily directed outside Finland.


The threat of terrorism

Supo updates the terrorist threat assessment at least once a year. The purpose of the threat assessment is to provide an up-to-date picture on the terrorist threat in Finland, based on best available information.

Terrorist attacks are the most serious and visible manifestation of terrorism. While most planned attacks in Europe do not materialise due to the counter-terrorism work of public authorities, a significant element of terrorist activity comprises covert offences that support terrorism in various ways.

These offences include preparing and disseminating propaganda to justify violence and encouraging others to support terrorist operatives.

Threat levels

Threat levels are used to describe the terrorist threat against Finland and Finnish interests. The factors taken into account when assessing the threat level include the available intelligence, operational capacity and motivation of terrorist organisations or persons and groups linked to them, and the time span of possible attack plans. 

Infographic the terrorism threat level is two meaning elevated.

The terrorist threat assessment was updated on 29/3/2022.

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