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

Treatment of Minorities

Treatment of Minorities The ethnic composition of Italy.

According to the results of the published in May 2014 poll conducted by the “Pew Research Center”, xenophobia-wise Italy takes on of the first places in Europe. 80% of Italians think that immediate measures must be taken in order to stop immigration; 79% argue that immigrants do not want to assimilate and integrate into Italian society; 69% see immigrants as stealing jobs and social benefits from Italian citizens; 45% are convinced that immigrants are to blame for increased crime rate. 85% of Italians do not like Roma, 63% do not like Muslims, and 24% do not like Jews.

In 2015, these figures remained relatively the same. 82% of Italians expressed negative attitude towards Roma, Muslims - 69%, Jews - 24%. According to a survey conducted in the spring of 2016 by the American Institute of Public Opinion Pew Research Centre, 85% of Italians considered that a significant number of Muslims in their country supported ISIS.

The scale of anti-Roma sentiments in Italy is demonstrated by the fact that the 9 million people viewed a video on Lega Nord’s leader’s Facebook page with a false interview with a Roma person. According to a report published by the Interior Ministry in 2015, 35% of Italians believe that more than 2 million Roma live in the country, which is 10 times more than their actual number.

The population also looks at refugees as people who take their money and commit crimes (especially after the migration crisis of 2015). As a result, rumours about the possible opening of refugee centres lead to demonstrations and protests, which nationalists actively use by creating citizen committees.

There are problems with discrimination of sexual minorities. According to a survey of 3 500 high school students in Rome, conducted jointly by the Gay Center Association and the T6 Co-operative, published on May 22, 2013, it was revealed that 5% of respondents refer themselves as gays or lesbians. More than half of them, on average 55%, believed that they were discriminated against in their school because of their sexual orientation. They also believed that they were discriminated against in the family (42%), in bars and entertainment (33%), in the media and the Internet (30%). Sometimes this discrimination leads to sad consequences: August 9, 2013 14-year-old teenager from Rome committed suicide due to homophobic ridicule.

Sociological survey by Ipsos PA, published on October 21, showed that 56% of practicing Italian Catholics support the recognition of same-sex union. 24% of them supported same-sex marriage, while 32% supported same-sex civil partnership.

These sentiments started to convert into political votes. At the last elections to the European Parliament on May 25th "Lega Nord" received 6.2% (5 seats in the European Parliament). "Fratelli d'Italia / Alleanza Nazionale" got 3.7% of the vote and did not get into the European Parliament. But the favorite of the election turned out to be the movement "Five Stars" led by Beppe Grillo, which received 21.1% of votes and 17 parliamentary seats.

A conference held in Italy in January 2020 on hate crimes and their victims in the country noted that the xenophobic and racist campaign launched by the far right in previous years has led to an increase in hate crimes, according to data provided by the OSCE and the Observatory for the Protection against Discrimination in Italy (OSCAD) in cooperation with the Italian police department. The data available for 2018 and 2019 give us a picture of a country where societal attitudes toward ethnic or religious minorities have worsened dramatically compared to 2016 and 2017. The 2019 data is slightly higher than the 2018 data and shows an overall increase in racial hatred, as also reported by the Italian Department of Public Security. For example, OSCAD's annual report indicates that hate crimes for 2018 totaled 801 and hate crimes for 2019 totaled 726, compared to 494 cases in 2016 (when considering mostly only bias motives).

Hate crimes are up from 2016.

In the early 2020s, we record a deterioration in Italian attitudes toward minorities, including immigrants. This is due to several factors. First, the chronic economic and financial crisis, which has affected the Italian economic system as a whole. Second, the traditional dimension of Italian society, not very open to diversity in general. Third, uncontrolled waves of migration, especially from the sub-Saharan regions on the coast of Sicily and the Sicilian islands, such as Lampedusa. Fourth, the emergence on the Italian political scene of far-right parties and the religious right, which have made even more negative attitudes toward newcomers, along with old prejudices that have affected other minorities such as the Roma people, the Jewish community, LGBT groups and the Muslim community.

It is interesting to note how, in the middle of the Covida-19 pandemic, many thought and believed that the infection was brought by migrants arriving on Sicilian shores and how Chinese community members were being targeted for discrimination and hate crimes. The main factor of this further attitude of Italian society toward foreigners, or toward diversity in general, is mainly the popularity enjoyed and still enjoyed by politician Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right Liga party and former Minister of the Interior. In Italy today, far-right populism is quite widespread among ordinary voters; Salvini's "Italians First" hate campaign is deeply popular among indigenous people, especially those with a middle level of education, and social networks have been infected with fake profiles, not people who chose Salvini as a champion of his "Christian" and Italian values.

The result was that not only immigrants or minorities were targeted on social media, but all those who dared to criticize Salvini and his xenophobic and ultra-nationalist populist message. The result of this massive political propaganda has been a growing indoctrination of the common man against everything that was not approved by Salvini and the far right, especially immigrants, Roma and Sinti communities, Muslims, and in general a growing xenophobia that affects anyone not born in Italy. Anti-Semitism is not so obvious, but is still present, and the reason why it is not so evident is only for political reasons. This is evidenced by a recent November 2019 opinion poll that asked the Italian public about racism and xenophobia:

More than half of Italians polled in that poll said racist actions are sometimes or always "justified," a conclusion drawn after a series of high-profile racist and anti-Semitic incidents across the country. The polling firm SWG surveyed a sample of 1,500 people, 10% of whom said racist actions are always justified, and another 45% said racist actions may be acceptable depending on the situation. The remaining 45% said that racist actions of any kind are totally unacceptable. For the first time in a decade, a majority of those surveyed did not openly condemn racism. Enzo Risso, SWG coordinator, said, "This means that attitudes toward racism have weakened - not necessarily that people have become racist. Instead, it is important to notice how people have begun to see episodes or racist views and declarations as acceptable and "normal," and how they no longer feel outraged, and this is also related to the spread of hate speech online. The poll quoted above shows disturbing data: 45% of respondents said that acts of racism might be acceptable depending on the situation. The "normality" in which acts of racism and discrimination appear to be perceived by the average person shows how far the indoctrination of populist parties has gone.The "normality" in which acts of racism and discrimination appear to be perceived by the average person shows how far the populist parties have gone.

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