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Islamist radicalisation in Italy: just A myth?


Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter TerrorismJournal abstract

Whilst Italy has yet to experience a large-scale Islamist terrorist incident, this essay challenges the claim that Islamist radicalisation in the country is a myth. On the contrary, factual, quantitative, and qualitative evidence indicates that radicalisation exists and, with no alarmism and social stigmatisation, should be addressed as such. In truth, Italy displays a multifaceted and decennial jihadist record. Jihadists have used Italy to acquire funds and weapons and the country has been a crossroad of renowned terrorists. Combatants have departed from Italy for theatres of jihad well before the advent of ISIS. In this regard, the Caliphate has been fairly active in Italy. There have been at least 30 cases of a terrorist-related nature since 2001, including several thwarted plots. Furthermore, field research by the author shows that extremist views justifying violence framed in religious terms have permeated certain segments of local Islamic communities where support for violence in defence of faith, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS ranges from 10% to 24%. Drawing on its empirical findings, this paper suggests a number of preventive measures with the intention of contributing to the discussion on counter-radicalisation policies and striking a proper balance between security and democratic values.

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