'We are Against Islam!': The Lega Nord and the Islamic Folk Devil

SAGE Open, October-December 2012:1-14

15 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016 Last revised: 3 May 2018

See all articles by Alberto Testa

Alberto Testa

University of West London - Ealing Law School

Gary Armstrong

Brunel University London

Date Written: December 19, 2012


Since 1995, the Italian Lega Nord (LN) political party has depicted itself as the defender of Padania, a territory that covers the mainly affluent regions of Northern Italy. Around this politico-spatial territory, the LN has shaped an identity based on the notion of Popolo Padano (the Padanian People). Since the new millennium, LN rhetoric has increasingly focused— stemming more from the demands of realpolitik than those of conviction—on opposing irregular immigration per se and, more specifically, Islam and Muslim immigration. In the eyes of the LN propagandists and their media, the theology of Islam and its practitioners represent a growing threat to the modern Italian and Padanian identity (and tradition). The LN has not been alone in using the media to oppose Islam; the Italian media has reinforced LN messages; Muslims are generally depicted as dangerous and compared with terrorists and their religion and culture are described as the opposite of Italian/West values. Something approximating to a “moral panic” around this issue has ensued. Integral to this are notions of morality combined with practices of moral entrepreneurship. What follows seeks to highlight the LN’s stereotypical depictions of Islam. This evaluation is important because the LN was a major player in former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government (2008- 2011) and is still a significant party among the Italian political spectrum. Integral to what follows are the following questions: “Is contemporary Islamic immigration a threat to the Italian (and Padanian) way of life?” and “Are the perceived threats to be found in the periodic uncertainties that societies suffer or might we need to search for wider processes?”

Keywords: Islam, Islamophobia, Italy, Muslims, Discrimination

Suggested Citation

Testa, Alberto and Armstrong, Gary, 'We are Against Islam!': The Lega Nord and the Islamic Folk Devil (December 19, 2012). SAGE Open, October-December 2012:1-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2734732

Alberto Testa (Contact Author)

University of West London - Ealing Law School ( email )

St Mary's Road
London, W5 5RF
United Kingdom

Gary Armstrong

Brunel University London ( email )

Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

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