ATbar Islamization Processes in Italy
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Islamization Processes in Italy

01/07/2010 | by Groppi, Michele  

Radicalization of Muslim communities in Italy is a phenomenon that must be addressed. Recent outburst of radical views of Islam, theoretical and logistical support for global jihad, and threat of terrorist attacks on the Italian soil raise issues of integration and peaceful coexistence. In order to avoid future prospects of cultural, social, and religious clashes, joint academics, officials, and policy makers must cooperate to face the growing radicalization of Muslim communities. This report has two main objectives. First, it offers a comprehensive vision of the Muslim community in Italy, both on demographic and representative levels. Second, it intends to show the real and concrete threat Muslim radicalization represents. 

Demographically, Muslims number between 1 and 1,200, 000 millions and represent 1.5% of the Italian population. Muslim presence in Italy is strictly related to global migration flows. Since the 90s, Muslim immigration has increased exponentially, currently representing onethird of total migration flow to Italy. Muslims’ geographical provenience is heterogeneous, as it interests the whole Muslim world. Nevertheless, the majority of Muslims comes from Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. Muslims are mainly concentrated in the more industrialized northern regions, such as Lombardia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, and Piemonte. Milan numbers the largest Muslim community in the country, followed by Turin. Age estimates suggest Muslims population to be young. The main sectors of occupation are catering, construction, manufacturing, and import-export. Finally, the great majority of Muslims is Sunni, while only 2% is Shiite. Most Muslims share a traditional view of Islam, as sermons’ attendance amounts to 6-7% on a weekly base.

At the organizational level, Muslim representation is complex. Muslims in Italy are divided on cultural, political, and religious lines. Foreign states, mosques, and cultural organizations compete for their legacy and representation. The result is a myriad of organizations spread throughout the country. Such fragmentation affects Islam’s institutional representation and relation with the Italian State. Still in competition with each other, Islamic organizations are yet to reach an entente with the government. Nowadays, Muslims rely on 18 main organizations, 735 worship places, more than 100 mosques, 159 Islamic centers, 88 Koranic schools, countless websites, and 12 national channels available on satellite TV. The most important institutions are UCOII, the Islamic Cultural Institute of Viale Jenner, COREIS, the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, the Muslim World League, the Al-Rahman Mosque, and the Great Mosque of Rome.

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