The starting point for the establishment of the Dialogue Center for the Prevention of Extremism is the phenomenon of young people radicalizing for the militant jihad in Syria, which has changed intercultural dialogue and democratic coexistence for the worse and intensified it.
The Dialogue Center for the Prevention of Extremism in Wolfsburg has the task of protecting children and young people from danger and empowering them in the face of all kinds of negative influences. In the search for their identity, we want to give young people space and orientation and show them possibilities without having to join orientations that are hostile to democracy and freedom.
The aim is to further develop the promotion of intercultural understanding, the creation of opportunities for communication and the interaction and participation of different cultures in Wolfsburg.
To this end, the Dialogue Center for the Prevention of Extremism offers networking, prevention and dialogue with all the people and institutions involved, so that migrant organizations in particular can and should participate in democratic processes and social and political activities in the long term.
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In cooperation with clubs and associations as well as interested institutions, the Dialogue Unit for the Prevention of Extremism develops strategies and action concepts tailored to specific situations that lead to the promotion of democracy and diversity.
The focus of the Dialogue Unit is on the development of methods, action concepts and the establishment of networks against violence, misanthropy and all forms of extremism, especially the radicalization of young people in the neo-Salafist scene. The aim here is to jointly identify ways and possibilities for turning away from violence-related and extremist ideology and to counteract it at an early stage.
The following are some of the offers:
- Individual talks with private individuals, institutions and associations
- Initiation of information events, symposia and qualification/training courses
- Referral to various counseling centers in the region
- Offer or referral of offers of assistance
- Networking and linking of different levels such as civil society, associations, municipal level and authorities
A change that is initially intangible
Radicalization is always a process. A person is not radical overnight, but changes himself and his views gradually, often insidiously and initially unnoticed by family, friends and other caregivers. Every radicalization process is different and individual. Gradually, the ideas and goals strengthen, take on more and more space, and become more ideological and radical. The further this process progresses, the more difficult it is to reach this person - and the end of radicalization can be the use of violence.
We are here to help you,
- if you are not sure whether your observations are already radicalization and would like advice on this.
- if you would like to know how to recognize radicalization and how to act on it.
- if you need concrete help.
For more information, please see the flyer or brochure or contact us directly.
The city of Wolfsburg has been included in the federal program "Live Democracy!" since June 2015. The program, funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, supports the offensive dialog of the Youth Protection Dialogue Office locally and systematically and promotes a wide variety of measures and projects that serve to promote democracy and prevent extremism. Within the framework of local "Partnerships for Democracy," the city of Wolfsburg is working with those responsible in local politics and administration as well as civil society activists to develop an overall strategy.
Further information on the federal program "Democracy Live!
Exit Offer - Out of Terrorism and Islamic Fanaticism (HATIF)
of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) HATIF is aimed at people who want to leave the Islamist scene.
Telephone: 02 21/ 792 - 69 99
E-mail to HATIF
Counseling Center "Radicalization
of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) For people seeking advice and support because they fear that a person in their environment is becoming Islamist radicalized.
Phone: 09 11/ 94 34 343
E-mail to Counseling Center "Radicalization
Tip Line - Call Against Terror and Violence (HiT)
For persons who have indications of possible planning of Islamist-motivated acts of violence or terrorist attacks.
Telephone: 02 21/ 792 - 3366
E-mail to HiT
Center for Democratic Education
Phone: 05361 891 305-0
E-mail to Center for Democratic Education
Counseling Center for the Prevention of Neo-Salafist Radicalization beRATen e. V.
Phone: 0511 70052040
E-mail to advice center
Ufuq e. V. Counseling and Information
Phone: 030 98341051
E-mail to Ufuq
Violence Prevention Network e. V.
Phone: 030 91 70 54 64
E-mail to Violence Prevention Network e. V.
Questions about extremism phenomena
Extremism rejects the democratic values of the Federal Republic with its constitution. In doing so, it often considers the means of violence. Extremism opposes the Basic Law, the free basic order and the free press.
"Efforts that reject the democratic constitutional state and its fundamental values, norms and rules are referred to as extremism. Extremists want to abolish the free democratic basic order and replace it with an order that corresponds to their particular ideas. They often approve of violence as a suitable means of achieving their own goals, propagate it or even use it. Terrorism is the most aggressive and militant form of extremism." Definition of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)
Radicalism is an attitude that seeks to treat problems of society at their root (lat. radix).
Radical attitudes often exhibit intolerance of other people's views and values; sometimes also of basic democratic values.
"This word can be traced back to the Latin "radix," meaning "root." "Radicalism" is used to describe a political attitude that wants to change things from the ground up, from the root, and not just scratch the surface." Clarification of terms by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education
Abolition of democracy
Right-wing radicals and left-wing radicals want to totally change the existing social order and abolish democratic rules. Although the objectives of right-wing radicals and left-wing radicals are different, both groups are willing to use violent means to achieve their goals. People with radical attitudes are often fanatical, not accepting the ideas of others. They are intolerant and uncompromisingly insist on their own ideas.
"Radicalization is the increasing turn of individuals or groups toward an extremist mode of thought and action and the growing willingness to advocate, support, and/or use illegitimate means, including the use of violence, to achieve their goals." Definition of the Federal Criminal Police Office BKA
Persons or organizations whose ideas and or goals are directed against fundamental constitutional values are described as hostile to the constitution.
Political activities that are directed against the constitutional order and aim to eliminate the free democratic basic order are anti-constitutional. Definition of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)
Extremist endeavors are activities aimed at eliminating the fundamental values of liberal democracy. This includes preparatory acts, agitation and acts of violence.
What does right-wing extremism mean?
"Right-wing extremism" is a generic term for political attitudes that reject democracy and the equal value of all people. An important component of this ideology is the orientation toward an ethnic affiliation. Right-wing extremists share the idea of a "people's community," which is defined in racial terms. One's own nation is considered superior and superior (chauvinism); representative democracy is rejected." Amadeu Antonio Foundation definition
"Right-wing extremism does not represent a uniform phenomenon in Germany. Racist, anti-Semitic and nationalist ideological elements appear in various forms. However, an overvaluation of ethnic affiliation and a concomitant rejection of the principle of human equality can be found among all right-wing extremists." Definition Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
What does anti-Semitism mean?
Anti-Semitism means hostility toward Jews in general. There are many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories spread by right-wing extremist currents, but also increasingly (even unreflectively) from the middle of society.
"Anti-Semitism is more than xenophobia, also more than a social or religious prejudice. It is an anti-modern worldview that sees the existence of Jews as the cause of all problems." Definition Federal Agency for Civic Education
"Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which can be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Anti-Semitism is directed in word or deed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, as well as against Jewish communal institutions or religious bodies." International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition.
Islamism is a form of political extremism that can be distinguished from Islam and is based on the religion of Islam.
Islamism is a political ideology whose adherents refer to the religious norms of Islam, but interpret them in a political and extreme way. It is important to note that Islam and Islamism are entirely different. While Islam as a religion is protected by Article 4 of the Basic Law, Islamism is considered unconstitutional. Islamism can take different forms, for example:
- organizations that adhere rigidly to paragraphs and regulations and strive to achieve their goals within the legal framework set by the state, categorically rejecting the use of violence (for example, the Muslim Brotherhood).
- violent groups that advocate warfare as one means among many and may use it in acute conflicts in their actors' country of origin (for example, Hizb Allah).
- Jihadist organizations that primarily resort to violence and openly fight state structures (e.g., Al-Qaeda).
Salafism refers to a current within Islamism. Islamism is a political ideology whose adherents strive to establish an Islamic state and social order. To this end, religious norms are selectively used and interpreted politically.
The term is derived from the Arabic as-salaf as-salih, which translates as "the pious ancestors" or "the righteous ancestors. Salafists thus refer to the first three generations of Muslims in the 7th/8th century. The religious practice and lifestyle of the Prophet and his companions serve as a model for Salafists. The idealized values and rules of the early Islamic period are to be enforced as a holistic political program binding on all. With this claim to absoluteness, Salafism contradicts the free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany to a considerable extent. In particular, the democratic principles of separation of state and religion, popular sovereignty, gender equality, and religious and sexual self-determination are violated by Salafist ideology.
The types of Salafist groups can be divided into three currents:
- The purists strive for a pure doctrine of Islam and a life pleasing to God/conforming to Islam and predominantly accept the state order of the respective country.
- The political Salafists attempt to spread their ideology through intensive propaganda activities and strive for an Islamic state with the introduction of Sharia law.
- The jihadist Salafists advocate the use of violence to achieve their goals, such as the establishment of an Islamic state. They interpret the so-called jihad primarily in military terms and see it as the duty of every Muslim to participate in armed struggle against infidels. There is a great deal of overlap between the political and jihadist Salafists in terms of their viewpoints.
Salafism is currently the most dynamic Islamist movement in Lower Saxony and throughout Germany. In Lower Saxony, the Lower Saxony Office for the Protection of the Constitution currently counts 800 Salafists (as of 2022), the majority of whom are assigned to the political spectrum and thus to non-violent Salafism. Political Salafists appear in public through active missionary work. However, the transitions to the jihadist spectrum are fluid. Many jihadist Salafists have found an entry into the Salafist scene through so-called dawa actions, such as the LIES Koran distribution campaigns. In the Wolfsburg-Brunswick region, the DMG mosque in Braunschweig is still considered a point of attraction for Salafists and Islamists. In addition, there is a high influence factor via social media, with the attempt to increasingly appeal to young people.
In addition, around 30 to 40 people with jihadist connections are known in Wolfsburg in connection with the fighting in Syria/Iraq, who, for example, are close to the ideology and objectives of the "Islamic State", who are considering or have already left for Syria/Iraq, who advertise for it or provide logistical support in other ways.
Jihad is a theologically important term in Islam and means personal effort/struggle/struggle in the way of God - especially against one's own weaknesses. It is divided into the "great Jihad", which means the individual effort for the intimate, religious behavior towards God and fellow men, and the "small Jihad", which includes among other things the defensive wars as well as any physical strain. Colloquially, we have come to equate jihad with "holy war" in connection with terrorist actions. Like the use of the term "Islamism," this is an inadmissible oversimplification that Muslims rightly complain about.
Radical Islamists (in the self-definition: God warriors) today use D. for the unrestricted violent struggle against all forms of Western life and thought.
- You can't find access to your son, to your daughter?
- Your children have suddenly changed their behavior?
- Your child/youth currently holds extreme, political, religious positions?
- Your student turns to Islam, converts and wears a burka/nikab?
- In your institution (daycare center, school, company) face-veiled women appear more often and make you feel insecure? This makes you afraid and/or you have an insecure feeling? These can be (first) signs of an incipient radicalization. If you are not sure, please contact us.
- Our offer is confidential and free of charge.
- We listen to you! We do not judge, but advise, assess and give advice.
- We offer a trusting and respectful atmosphere for discussion.
- We leave room for your problem descriptions and questions.
- We help you to assess a possible dangerous situation and carry out a risk assessment with you.
- a risk assessment with you.
- We are competent and experienced interlocutors for difficult and extreme
- life situations in the environment of possible radicalization and are at your side if necessary.
- We do not leave you alone: If necessary, we will personally refer you to other counseling centers and initiatives.
- Maintain contact with the young person - make it clear that he/she is accepted as a person, even if you explicitly do not share his/her opinion.
- If possible, ask questions instead of judging (have them explain their worldview in detail, ask them about it).
- Take indignation about war and humanitarian suffering seriously, if necessary offer to look for reputable aid organizations with the young person.
- But also: show clear boundaries, stop or sanction extremist behavior patterns (e.g.: disrespectful behavior toward female teachers, boycotting certain lessons, proselytizing activities).If fronts harden: talk about other topics (family, school, training, etc.).
- Clarify possible causes of radicalization (e.g. problems at home or school, difficult job search) and, if necessary, seek advice and help on this (see back page, but also: educational counseling center, youth vocational assistance).
- Contact old friends or family members who may be able to find better access to the young person.
- In the pedagogical context: involve colleagues - advise each other and clarify where you can get further support.
When young people explicitly turn away from their "infidel" family, speak in extremely derogatory terms about other Muslims, a mosque board or imams, or express open sympathy for armed jihad, radicalization is well advanced. If they call for violence or for active participation in armed jihad in their environment, they are not only crossing a line verbally. The actual willingness to use violence, i.e. the potential danger posed by the young person to himself or others, cannot always be assessed by teachers, social workers or parents.
The police use their investigations to try to assess the potential danger to themselves and others. In this way, the police have been able to prevent a number of minors from leaving for Syria in recent years.
Police involvement at this stage is purely preventive. As long as the juveniles have not committed any criminal acts, they are not recorded on a permanent basis.
In case of need for advice as well as reasonable suspicion of radicalization
Counseling Center for the Prevention of Neo-Salafist Radicalization beRATen e. V.
Phone: 0511 70052040
Counseling Center for Radicalization of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
BAMF - Federal Office for Migration and Refugees - Advice Center Radicalization
The Wolfsburg communication model as a building block in the Wolfsburg prevention path describes the institutionalized networking of all relevant actors for sustainable Islamism prevention in the Wolfsburg area.
The goal is a comprehensive exchange with all actors in the context of radicalization and Islamism prevention.
On the one hand, this multiprofessional networking serves to exchange information about the latest manifestations in the Salafist context, and on the other hand, the networking guarantees quick action routines that can be implemented in cases of suspected radicalization and conflict situations with religious overtones.
Depending on the motive, work is carried out in various regular or situation-dependent expert groups, while observing data protection regulations.
The Wolfsburg communication model has set itself the task of giving early attention to extremist tendencies in a religious context, as well as anti-Muslim movements, through educational and security prevention, and of providing clear intervention.
In addition to the professional conferences and expert committees, a network is being created with municipal partners from various social and economic sectors.
The Dialogue Office for the Prevention of Extremism is the central municipal point of contact in Wolfsburg for citizens, institutions, clubs and associations, as well as internal and external departments for the prevention of extremism and the promotion of democracy. The Dialogue Office is the point of contact for cross-phenomenon radicalization prevention, i.e. for all forms of extremism.
Coordination of prevention measures
The Dialogue Office coordinates the prevention measures in Wolfsburg. It offers advice and training on the topic of "Radicalization of young people in a religious environment" and forwards inquiries to local and national network partners. The Dialogue Center sees itself as a link between prevention and security. Thus, a reliable and institutionalized exchange with the Wolfsburg police is part of the field of work. The confidentiality of a consultation is maintained at all times. This includes, among other things, the institutionalized exchange with the counseling center beRATen e.V., which can contribute its expertise in systemic counseling to case management in the neo-Salafist context.
Clearing and case management
The Dialogstelle is the first clearinghouse for systematic case management and provides case processing.
Accompaniment and counseling for victims and relatives
The Dialogue Center accompanies relatives and sympathizers, fellow travelers and activists, young scene entrants.
Referral counseling and cooperation
In the area of Salafism, the Dialogue Center can rely on good cooperation and collaboration with beRATen e. V. and Aktion Neustart in Hanover.
Contact point for institutions, associations and organizations
The Dialogue Center is the point of contact for internal/external institutions, clubs and associations when conspicuous features or changes in young people or families are identified, in order to initiate appropriate case management or, if necessary, other measures such as training, information events or other interventions.