En lien avec les dernières arrestations en Italie, liées à un réseau de recrutement pour le Jihad international, je recommande vivement la lecture du dernier article de Lorenzo Vidino, "Islam, Islamism and Jihadism in Italy", publié par le Hudson Institute la semaine dernière. Pour rappel, Lorenzo Vidino est l'auteur de l'ouvrage de référence "Al-Qaeda in Europe".
Voici quelques extraits du texte:
While attracting only a small minority of Muslims living in the country, Salafi ideology has had a relatively long history in Italy and is espoused by a growing number of mosques throughout the territory. As a virtually inevitable direct byproduct of the spread of Salafi ideology, over the last fifteen years Italian authorities have monitored and, often times, dismantled, several networks involved in terrorist activities. The majority of these cells limited their actions to providing various forms of logistical support to jihadist outfits operating throughout the world. Nevertheless, over the last few years, some dismantled networks had planned attacks inside the country, indicating Italy’s shift from a convenient base of operation to a potential target.
By the mid-1980s several members of various Egyptian jihadist groups had also made their way to Milan, either receiving asylum or living illegally in the Italian city. Soon the men, mostly members of the Gamaa Islamiya, the notorious Egyptian terrorist organization that has killed hundreds of Egyptians and Westerners in its attempt to overthrow the country’s secular government, became increasingly dissatisfied with the strain of Islam that was preached inside the Islamic Center. In 1988, with the financial support of a wealthy Milan-based Eritrean Muslim businessman, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, the Egyptians broke with the Islamic Center and founded their own mosque inside a former garage on the northern outskirts of Milan. The mosque, which was incorporated as the Islamic Cultural Institute (ICI), immediately became the main headquarters for the European operations of the Gamaa.
While the leadership of the Institute remained Egyptian, militants from other countries began to congregate there, turning the ICI into a hub for radical networks spread throughout northern Italy. Mirroring immigration patterns, by the mid-1990s Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan networks began to operate in Italy, generally gravitating around the ICI. At the end of the 1990s, the Institute, together with its satellite mosque strategically located in the southern outskirts of Milan, was one of the key neuralgic centers for jihadist activities in Europe, leading U.S. authorities to dub it “the main al Qaeda station house in Europe.” The intersection with Milan’s immigrant criminal underworld made the ICI particularly important. Hundreds of documents forged by a cluster of Moroccan ICI worshippers were used by al Qaeda militants worldwide. Money made by members of Milan’s networks through drug smuggling, petty thefts and other minor criminal activities was sent, along with zakat funds, to jihadist outfits in North Africa and Afghanistan. Moreover, as the Institute had been a hub for recruitment for the Bosnian jihad, by the late 1990s it started sending volunteers from various European countries to Afghanistan.
If the ICI is no longer the undisputed beacon of jihadism in Italy, many of the mosques and networks that have partially filled the gap trace their origins back to the Institute.
A common trend seems to be the de-localization of jihadist networks, as clusters seem to be forming increasingly outside of mosques and in small urban centers. Italy has not yet seen homegrown networks of the kind seen in most other European countries, which are characterized by the fact that most of their members are second generation immigrants and converts. The vast majority of individuals that have been arrested in Italy over the last few years are still first generation immigrants from the Maghreb region. Yet several recent police operations have shown that, unlike in the past, an increasing number of clusters operate independently from any group. And, unlike many of their predecessors, such networks have shown an intention to carry out attacks in Italy.