Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Incitement of Hatred

Incitement of Hatred Roberto Maroni, leader of the League of the North.

Incitement of hatred and hate speech is taking place in Italy as a result of the spread of propaganda directed against migrants and minorities in general. First of all, it is a widespread myth of the growth of ethnic crime. The problem of ethnic crime occupies a prominent place in the ideology of the Italian far right. It was this argument that was used to announce a "state of emergency" for Roma people in 2008. In the media (especially online media), the topic of allegedly very high ethnic and migrant crime rises every time after another high-profile crime committed by a foreign national.

Media (including central publications) publish reports on resonant crimes committed by migrants, without giving general statistics on crime, which makes the population feel that migrants commit most of the crime. The source of xenophobic materials in the media is often the publication in social networks, the reliability of which journalists do not verify.

On August 12, 2014 Italian artist Peppe Barra said in an interview: "Immigrants spoil, contaminate and devalue Naples. They misbehave, they are arrogant and evil. This is not xenophobia, but fear. Immigrants bring only harm”.

On September 1, owner of a shop in Sicily, member of the DECO-Gruppo Amadori started a programme against the Romani called Decorum and Live-ability, which quickly spread across Italy.

The campaign states, “From Monday 1st of September, Confesercenti invites its members to display the following on their windows – Don’t give money to the poor, give it to Caritas ”.

November 3. In the small village of Monserrato (Cagliari, Sardegna), parents of children attending the local elementary school, have expressed strong opposition to the employment as ancillary staff, of two women of Roma ethnicity. The employment was part of a European plan of integration of minorities. Since 1963 a neo-Nazi publishing agency called “Edizioni di Ar” has been regularly publishing many anti-Semite authors. It has published works of a Fascist theorist Julius Evola, German race researcher and eugenicist Hans F. K. Günther, Romanian anti-Semite Michael Erzengel, “Iron Guard” (Garda de Fier) member Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, Muammar Gaddafi, and holocaust denier Claudio Mutti who supported the leader of Livia in the Israeli conflict and made many racist statements. “Edizioni di Ar” spreads its publications through the internet and also has its own book store in Avellino/Campania.

"Casa Pound” faction founded a culture centre called “Fascists of the Third Millennium” and a book store named “Futuristic Circle”.

There are several Italian extreme right musical bands, most popular being ZetaZeroAlfa – Casa Pound’s official band. Besides ZetaZeroAlfa, there are multiple smaller neo-Nazi bands, such as "Civico 88", "Garrota", "Legittima Offesa" and "Linea Ostile". Usually, these bands are tightly related to various neo-Nazi organisations. For example, according to police reports, Garrota is tied with a neo-fascist organisation “Twelve Rays” and was recently subject to police search.

On October 26, a neo-Nazi website called Holy War published an article accusing chief rabbi of Merano in provoking racial hatred against Christians. Monitoring recorded several cases of radical anti-Semitism. In late July, imam of San Dona di Piave, Raud Abdelbar, in his public prayer asked Allah to kill all the Jews for the happiness of Muslims. "Allah, bring them something that will make us happy. Recalculate all their polls, and kill them all to the last. Do not spare any of them”.

On October 1, a recently converted Muslim Italian rapper Vito R. posted a call to “murder all Zionists, including children, rabbis, etc.” on Facebook. He added that when an enemy runs, “he must be caught and destroyed”.

Anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas have been found in Rome on May 3 and 27. On July 7, anti-Semitic graffiti was found on a bridge over Foglia river. On July 30 and 31, 2014 graffiti was put on a synagogue in Rome, saying “Fire for synagogues”. On August 5, graffiti “Jewish pigs, we will kill you all” appeared on the wall of a synagogue in Gorizia. On August 8, several posters calling for boycott against Israel and any “Jewish products and merchants” were found across Rome. Posters were signed by “Militia”, which is a right-wing extremist group.

On September 9, Islamophobic graffiti was found near ACLI in Padua, reading, “Muslim killers. Enough! Enough! Muslim Bedouins!” On September 27, anti-immigrant graffiti was found in Padua.

On May 11, it was reported that a potato shop displayed a poster, saying “Don’t be a faggot, eat potatoes”.

In 2013, there was a number of neo-Nazi concerts. Often, they were timed to various historical events, such as Adolf Hitler’s birthday on April 20. The larges concert/rally was held in Milan suburbs on June 15, 2013, gathering 2000 people. The concert, involving Nazi rock bands from across the world was organised by Skinhouse organisation.

In July 2013, Cuvelier physician Jianantonio Valli was noted distributing neo-Nazi and xenophobic literature.

In total, 484 cases of xenophobic propaganda were reported by the NGOs in 2015 (409 of them verbal, 46 graffiti, 4 racist posters, 21 publications, 4 websites and a blog, 55 public actions).

In Italy, the really influential right-wing forces are represented by the two above-mentioned political parties: Lega and Fratelli d'Italia. Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega political party, is the main proponent of discrimination against national minorities, including immigrants, in Italy. The propaganda machine he has often used, based on the basic populist slogans "Prima gli Italiani" (Italians first) and anti-establishment populist rhetoric, has added anti-Quaid propaganda in 2020-21 along with another party, Fratelli d'Italia, which is now the most influential far-right nationalist party active in Italy.

However, Lega's active anti-civic and anti-immigrant rhetoric allows it to remain popular during this period. This popularity is especially felt in the south of the country, where she has several mayors living in small towns and villages in the south. The party leader's easy rhetoric, the chronic economic crisis and widespread unemployment, coupled with the low level of education in the south, easily explain the reasons for this popularity.

Most of the negative social attitudes toward immigrants or various ethnic minorities are the result of the massive political propaganda of these far-right populist parties, which in the last five years have managed to at least monopolize public attention to social issues with the support of another populist party, Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement), and with the help of the traditionalist Catholic Church represented by Archbishop Vigano. Most of the cases of hatred were spread online during this period, as in many other countries, due not only to the benefits of the network but also to the conditions of quarantine restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Italy, neo-fascist groups are also quite widespread, with more aggressive hate propaganda. This propaganda also has some success and there are several reasons for this. First, Italy has historically never fully and seriously undergone the process of de-Nazification. This means that Italy was the only country in Western Europe where a neo-fascist party legally sat in parliament in the post-war period. Secondly, it was an early amnesty for fascism and fascists. This has left a certain imprint on the public consciousness of Italians. For example, if we look at the country's post-war history, we can understand why it was difficult, until recently, to pass proper legislation on hate crimes and discrimination. In such a social and cultural climate, neo-Nazi organizations became a "normal" reality for the local population.

This is why two of the most important organizations in this sense, Casa Pound Italia and Forza Nuova, are quite active throughout the country and often defend "Italian" traditional values and fight vigorously against minorities. The most disturbing factor is that both Casa Pound and Forza Nuova become acceptable to the local population, as well as their political declarations and social actions, given that these two groups often provide social services in the most deprived areas of especially large cities such as Rome and Milan.

From a national security perspective, the radicalization of Muslim communities poses a real threat, since we are now in a period in which many young people belonging to the second and third generation of Muslims are starting to turn eighteen. Italian security forces have been informed that some social and religious organizations are associated with potentially dangerous actors. The headquarters of the World Muslim League and the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy are directly managed by Saudi Arabia. Iran runs the European Islamic Center in Rome, and UCOII has decades of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. This reality is viewed with suspicion, but so far with patience, since, as in other cases, Italy does not seem to be subject to terrorist activity on its territory.

But this does not mean that radicalism has not spread to social organizations and mosque networks. Sometimes extremism is limited to rhetoric, sometimes it can actively or passively provoke terrorism by spreading hatred and extremist ideology. A number of social and religious leaders promote Wahhabist or Salafist versions of Islam, racial hatred, religious intolerance and jihad in the process of recruiting "martyrs," fundraising, etc. Overall, there are 4 radical organizations, 108 radical mosques and 18 radical imams. In addition, 11 mosques and Islamic centers are engaged in terrorist activities. Known for its illegal activities for nearly two decades, the Islamic Cultural Institute of Viale Genner in Milan. This institute has been proven to host terrorists, recruiting fighters and activists of radical Islam, some of whom have been used as "shahids" - suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even more disturbingly, a number of radical cells planned terrorist attacks in Milan, Bologna and Cremona, but failed to carry them out. In 2009 in Milan, the center of Islamic radicalism, Italy witnessed its first terrorist attack on its soil. Fortunately, the attack did not cause significant damage, as it was only a partial success.

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