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Migration and Home Affairs

Advice for parents, relatives and other affected persons with regard to Islamism

Target Audience
key themes association
Community engagement/civil societyFamily support
Peer Reviewed practice


VAJA - Association to promote acceptance based youth work (NGO) Streetwork: Streetwork is a key component of detached youth work and involves meeting the youths in their own environment. On the one hand, this means seeking out the youths at their chosen meeting places in the public sphere and also working with them on site (usually on the street). On the other hand, it also means meeting the young people in their own ‘comfort zone’ regarding attitudes and behavioural patterns and not requiring them to change their attitudes or behaviour in order to receive assistance from social work services.

Clique work, individual aid, and parental involvement: The professional basis for working successfully with cliques is to create an overarching, strong working relationship with the recipients. As a form of self-organised youth contact, the clique is not sacrosanct from an educational perspective. With regards to influencing membership, educational ideas can – in consultation with the clique – instead allow new members to be recruited, or support individuals’ wishes to leave. When this happens, the clique becomes a group, preventing the formation of regressive, hermetically sealed environments, and facilitating connections with other social networks – an option which, when it comes to tendencies towards right-wing extremism and other group-oriented enmity, is essential for creating opportunities to leave and switch groups democratically by experiencing social integration, participation and recognition.

Distancing potentials are rarely consolidated, and distancing processes rarely introduced, simultaneously and in the same way for all clique/group members. This is why individual aid is an important task area which often develops as a result of working with cliques, groups and scenes. The processes for changing or re-orientating individual youths towards new coping mechanisms, integration methods, memberships and recognitions can be individually accompanied or prompted through this work. It also enables individual problems and needs to be addressed in more detail, providing professional advice for the affected youths and, if necessary, for their parents or other important figures in their social environment.

Project work: Project services are special measures that supplement the everyday socio-pedagogical work performed in the aforementioned task areas. They are generally activities such as sport and exercise-based, youth cultural, education-oriented or interactive educational measures and programmes. Elements of mediation, antiracist and intercultural training, anti-violence training, and training in social and personal skills are applied insofar as they are deemed as having a sufficiently positive impact on the work, particularly in terms of reducing extremist/misanthropic attitudes and violence. Last but not least, projects fulfil the role of using common interests to bring together members of extreme-right/misanthropic cliques and scenes and persons from outside (extreme) right-wing/misanthropic environments.

Community work: Community work is an important part of our strategy, as it is safe to assume that the problems the youths cause are largely related to their own existing issues. Misanthropic, extremist and violent attitudes and behaviours displayed by young people cannot simply be viewed as individual misconduct, but rather result from socialisation contexts presented to the new generation by the adult community. That’s why, in addition to family, school and other important socialisation authorities and institutions, responsibility must also be shown to the community as a whole. Associations, clubs, societies, trade unions, churches and other socially relevant groups form what is known as a the local civil society, i.e. in the district, suburb and neighbourhood. These must also get involved, and be supported, when it comes to combating extreme right/misanthropic attitudes in the social environment

Biographical work: This assistance, consisting primarily of clique work aims to achieve more cases of individual aid through social educational processes involving increased contact and trust. The focus areas here include the individual biographical and life-related aspects of various clique members, which can be identified by staff as critical elements of right-extremist orientation. Where possible for the respective educators, these past, present and future aspects are either addressed based on discussions, activities and needs (e.g. through flow charts) or are pursued further through mediation and assistance with other, e.g. therapeutic, services.

Type of Organisation: NGO

Project description

Since 2012, Kitab, a Team at VAJA e.V., works on countering radicalisation processes of youngsters in the context of fundamentalist Islamism and Salafism, by counselling parents, relatives or other persons belonging to their social circle. Furthermore, Kitab also works with directly affected persons with regard to Islamism.

Kitab is one of the first four counselling centres in Germany and with that part of the still growing, nationwide acting counter radicalisation program of the government (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Beratungsstelle Radikalisierung).

The target group of the de-radicalisation work of our NGO is, on the one hand, the youth labelled as extreme right/radical right-wing and/or who distinguish themselves by extremely intolerant behaviour in terms of group-focused enmity; and on the other hand - coached by the Kitab team – youngsters, who turn to Islamist and Salafist organisations.


Several publications of the VAJA team are available here.

Contact details


Hinter der Mauer 9,
28195 Bremen,

Contact person: Berna Kurnaz
Telephone: (+49) 15738165202

Contact person: David Aufsess
Telephone: (+49) 15755753002

VAJA e.V. Office
Telephone: (+49) 421 76266

Read the full practice

Advice for parents, relatives and other affected persons with regard to Islamism
(187.46 KB - PDF)