First Advisor

Harry Anastasiou

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Conflict Resolution


Conflict Resolution




Islamophobia, Intercultural conflict, Italian landscape, Muslim identity, Intercultural conflict, Muslims -- Northern Italy -- Social conditions, Muslims -- Cultural assimilation -- Northern Italy, Cultural pluralism -- Political aspects -- Northern Italy



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 159 p.)


In this study, I examine the existing literature and carry out a qualitative exploration in order to formulate a better understanding of the dynamics that influence the lives of 2nd generation Italian Muslims. Although monumental social and political challenges remain in confronting integration of the Muslim population and for achieving greater acceptance of Islam within the Italian public sphere, the evidence suggests that the process for integration has slowly begun. Additionally, this study examines the intellectual framework of the existing literature which addresses the issues impacting Muslim integration in Northern Italy. This issue has induced new debates within Italy on multiculturalism, national identity, human rights, while more importantly raising the question--"to what extent do we allow Muslim integration into Italian society and the further insertion of Islam into Italy's spiritual geography?" This study argues that the convergence of contemporary international affairs with religion calls for a new lens for interaction. In Italy the events following 9/11, combined with a resurgence of Islamophobia and the impact of the Global War on Terror, have drawn the issue of Muslim immigrants into a negative spotlight. Mainstream attitudes in Europe, following 9/11, have generated a rift in Muslim-West relations and have caused confusion and anxiety among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The research hypothesis for this thesis suggests that there are multiple factors impeding the efforts for Muslims to achieve equal footing within the Italian religious landscape and inclusion within Italian society. Among these are divisions found within the Muslim community itself, a growing mistrust of Islam in mainstream Italian society, sponsored by negative media stereotyping and xenophobic political movements, and underlying everything else, the privileged position of the Catholic Church and its unwillingness to accommodate Islamic identity within the social framework. The chosen methodology employed in this study is qualitative, theoretical contextual analysis combined with interviews plus questionnaires used to construct a case study were applied. Beyond engaging in seven interviews with the 2nd generation Italian Muslims, this study was informed by the relevant academic literature from the fields of conflict resolution, history, sociology, cultural studies, Islamic studies and political science. Finally this study contextualized the dynamics generating this conflict and examined the discontinuities this situation has created in the lives of Muslims in Italy. The exclusion of the Muslim population, coupled with the complex relationship between this cultural group and state, has led to the exploration within Italy of different models for integration. The findings of this study indicate that inequalities exist for the Muslim population of Northern Italy in their relation with the host nation and society. This further hampers the process of integration and generates further exclusion. Only profound rethinking of the Italian approach to integration will serve to adequately meet the needs of this marginalized population and fully incorporate them within Italian society.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Conflict Resolution

Persistent Identifier