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Religions 2013, 4(4), 584-602; doi:10.3390/rel4040584

Religious Racism. Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Italian Society

Department of Humanities Studies, University of Ferrara, via Paradiso 12, Ferrara 44121, Italy
Department of Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Torino, Campus Luigi Einaudi Lungo Dora Siena 100, Torino 10153, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 15 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity)
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Racism and racial prejudice, considered a relic of obsolete and outdated social systems, is emerging in the depths of ultra-modern Western societies with different characteristics from the past but with a surprising and worrying virulence. These waves of prejudice and racism testify to the many fears that fill the horizons of advanced societies, undermining not only their internal reliability, but also just their democratic settings. This paper presents a critical review of Islamophobia as a racial prejudice, showing that two main definitions are at work: Islamophobia as xeno-racism or linked to the so-called clash of civilizations. Then, it presents the outcomes coming from a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) survey led among a representative sample of the Italian population (n = 1,523) on Antisemitic and Islamophobic attitudes. The cogency and structure of anti-Muslim public discourse and connected mass attitudes, revealed by our investigation, confirm the emergency of these two relevant dimensions of Islamophobia, which claim for a more accurate definition of Islamophobia. Moreover, the distribution of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attitudes illustrate an interesting overlapping of Islamophobia and Antisemitism which claims that racism is multi-targeted and that there is not so much options between Antisemitism and Islamophobia. Finally, we use three main variables—anomie, ethnocentrism, and authoritarianism—as predictors of Islamophobia and Antisemitism. We tested the strength of these three predictors with the aid of path technique based on multiple regression analysis, which helps to determine the direct and indirect impacts of certain independent variables on dependent variables in a hypothetical causal system.
Keywords: Islamophobia; Antisemitism; racism; ethnocentrism; Authoritarism Islamophobia; Antisemitism; racism; ethnocentrism; Authoritarism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Alietti, A.; Padovan, D. Religious Racism. Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Italian Society. Religions 2013, 4, 584-602.

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