At Counterterrorism Blog, Lorenzo Vidino discusses the links in Italy between Islamist forces and those of the extreme left, and focuses his attention on recent statements by a prominent Islamist and former militant Communist who gave a speech in which the example of the street riots in France two years ago was held up as a model for other radical forces around the world to follow. Vidino concludes:
Piccardo’s speech seems that of a Communist leader, rather than that of the leader of one of Italy’s most important Muslim organization. An explanation can be found in Piccardo’s past involvement in the militant Communist underworld. Before his conversion to Islam in 1975, Piccardo had been a member of Autonomia Operaia, one of Italy’s most radical leftist formations during the 1970s. Piccardo, like other UCOII members that come from the radical left, dreams of a fusion of Communist and Islamist ideologies, with anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism as the glues for this odd marriage. The UCOII case is not an isolated example of the alliance between far left and radical Islam in Europe. Another notorious example is Respect, the unlikely political formation borne out of the alliance between the Brotherhood-linked Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and fringe leftist groups headed by George Galloway. The phenomenon needs to be monitored, as the repercussions for both the security and the social cohesion of Europe can be serious.