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Italy deters jihad terrorism with tough citizenship laws, deportation

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 5:01
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The Islamic State vowed that it would “conquer Rome…. break your crosses, and enslave your women.” Since then, the Islamic State has committed jihad massacres in France, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Tunisia, Australia, Canada and the U.S. But not Italy.

Their model should be emulated and imitated all over the West.


“Italy deters terrorism with tough citizenship, deportation”, by Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes, October 14, 2016:

VICENZA, Italy — Two years ago this month, the cover of the Islamic State’s English-language magazine featured an altered photo of the group’s black flag flying atop the Egyptian obelisk that anchors St. Peter’s Square in front of the Vatican.

Inside the issue, then Islamic State spokesman Mohammed Al-Adnani proclaimed the group would one day “conquer Rome…. break your crosses, and enslave your women…” The story went on to encourage jihadi sympathizers to attack Westerners “wherever they can be found.”

Since then, Islamic State fighters or sympathizers have launched scores of attacks that killed hundreds and injured many more — in France, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Tunisia, Australia, Canada and the U.S.

Yet there have been no attacks in Italy.

Italian authorities have credited smart, focused intelligence and police work. But an expert on Italian foreign policy and international terrorism said there are other likely reasons Italy has thus far escaped an islamist terrorist attack: in particular, Italy’s restrictive citizenship laws and its ability and willingness to deport foreign nationals authorities see as threats.

Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Western attacks have been almost exclusively second-generation citizens. “Italy barely has a second generation,” said Lozenzo Vidino, the director of the program on extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. “There isn’t really a jihadist scene.”

Islamic State propaganda efforts in Italy have lagged behind that in other countries. Islamic State propaganda is easily available online in German, French and English, Vidino said, but there has been little translated into Italian.

Experts say the Islamic State has chosen its targets partly on how many operatives it has available in a country. Far fewer Italian residents have gone to Iraq or Syria to fight with the Islamic State than those in France, Germany and the U.K., according to an April report by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague, Netherlands.

More than 900 French residents were estimated to have traveled to fight in Syria or Iraq, according to the report. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a leader of the Paris attacks in November last year that killed 130 people, and most of those with significant roles in either the Paris or Brussels attacks had fought in Syria. Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan descent who grew up in a neighborhood with an active jihadist scene, boasted he’d brought dozens of fighters back from Syria to launch European attacks.

The ICCT report estimated nearly 800 German residents, 60 percent holding German citizenship, became foreign fighters, and an estimated 500 traveled from Belgium to fight.

Italy’s official estimate is 110, Vidino said.

Only a dozen of them had Italian passports, according to the Italian defense minister.

To be an Italian citizen, “you have to have Italian blood,” Vidino said; your mother or father must be a citizen.

Non-Italians hoping to gain citizenship face a lengthy, expensive and complex process. Children of non-residents born in Italy have to wait until they’re 18 to even apply for citizenship.

Because few non-Italian residents are able to become citizens, those suspected of supporting the Islamic State or recruiting fighters can be — and are — quickly deported….


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