Hate Speech or Hate Shot?: Finding Patterns of the Anti-Muslim Narratives in Italy

Hate Speech or Hate Shot?: Finding Patterns of the Anti-Muslim Narratives in Italy

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-8427-2.ch011
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Nowadays, the Muslim community is one of the most discriminated groups in Europe. Anti-Islam hate speeches circulate online and offline especially through the intense use social media, fake news, bots, and click-baiting practices. However even if Muslim discriminatory practices have been gaining more media relevance in the recent years, anti-Muslim stereotypes date back far beyond our times. Using the theoretical frameworks developed by Said and Moscovici this research aims to analyze 31 semi-structured interviews conducted with the volunteers of the Amnesty International's Hate Speech Task Force, to investigate which are the most persistent anti-Muslim representations in Europe and Italy today. In bringing the theory into practice this work will explore the dynamics occurring on Facebook among users which show polarized and intolerant positions while engaging an Islam-related conversation. This specific case study will allow to show how and why old anti-Islam stereotypes persist almost unchanged from an offline to an online world.
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Framing The Anti-Islam Hatred In Europe

In 2016, the study carried out by the Islamic Human Rights Commission1, recorded the growth and proliferation of the anti-Islam narratives in all European countries (Islamic Human Right Commission [IHRC], 2019). The research - comparing data on Islamophobia between 2010 and 2014 in the United Kingdom - had noted an increase in physical aggression against Muslims from 13.9% to 17.8% and the incidence of verbal abuse from 39.8% to 66%. A worsening of the Islamophobic environment was also revealed with regard to media content and political speeches, noting that hostile and discriminatory languages against Muslims have become more and more acceptable in many spheres of daily life (Law et al., 2018).

A year later, the report of the European Fundamental Rights Agency2, which collected 10.527 interviews to Muslim people living in Europe, revealed that 31% of Muslim job seekers had been discriminated more than once in the last five years, and that only 12% of them had reported this discrimination.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hate Speech: Any verbal expression which aims to attack a person or a group on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Counter-narratives: In sociology, are the processes of deconstructing and debunking the themes of dominant narratives by undermining their logic and offering alternative significances.

Orientalism: The study, interpretation and depiction of aspects in Eastern cultures, usually done by western scholars and intellectuals from a dominant and biased perspective.

Narratives: In sociology are conceptualizations and understandings through which people construct meaningful significance to the stories that define their and other identity.

Populism: In the political discourse is the creation of a popular hegemonic bloc such as «the people», that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.

Stereotypes: Fixed general images and a set of characteristics that a lot of people passively use or reuse to represent or conceive particular type of person, social groups or things.

Shitstorm: The massive spread of insults and negative comments towards people, pages or groups on social media. The characteristics that distinguish it from a simple negative comment concern the vulgarity and ferocity with which criticism and aggressive and offensive language are expressed.

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