Municipalities at work. Contrasting Radicalisation at local level: the case of Milan

di Francesco Antonelli, Pina Sodano, Valeria Rosato

In the last 15 years, public discourse along with relevant aspects of national, political and media debate have often insisted on the “exceptionality” of the Italian case compared to the European context characterised by structured and widespread radicalisation processes of different types. During this time, such judgment was based not so much on the irrelevance of a terrorist threat in Italy (e.g. the Italian GTI score has constantly been above 3.5 since 2011, compared to a European GTI score of around 1.5 in the same period [GTI 2022]), but on the absence of significant terrorist attacks in Italy, in particular, those of religiously inspired incidents during the peak of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (2014-2017). According to leading scholars such as Farhad Khosrokhavar (2021), this is due to three main reasons: a more recent and limited immigration from Islamic countries compared to other European countries (e.g. France, Belgium, Germany and the UK); more effective counter-terrorist action by the Italian Police, due to its decades-long experience in tackling terrorism; and the absence of poor ethnic neighbourhoods in Italian cities.


Whereas many studies have been dedicated to the analysis of national Italian P/CVE, very few systematic investigations have focused on the local level. Starting from this general consideration, the aim of this paper is to analyse a specific and significant case of Italian local P/CVE: that of the Lombardy Region with a particular in-depth analysis of the Municipality of Milan, in order to evaluate strengths and critical issues and to identify the most general recommendations for the development of more integrated national\local preventive programmes. The analysis shows that Italy lacks a clear and structured national strategy in the prevention of radicalisation and this limitation also has negative repercussions on policies at the local level where, although there are “happy islands” of implementation of prevention projects involving mainly young people and students, these efforts pay the price of not having guarantees of continuity and sustainability over time.

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