Rome, 30th – 31st January 2018

Directorate General for Training – DAP

RASMORAD and TRAin TRAINING projects are both focused on radicalisation, and financed by the European Commission. In particular, TRAin TRAINING reflects the organization and goals of the Directorate General for Training. The director of Office I (which deals with General Affairs and International Relations) introduced the Director of the Directorate General for Training, also Director of the Scuola Superiore dell’Esecuzione Penale “Piersanti Mattarella”. The first part of the Kick-off meeting was dedicated to general presentations focused on both the Italian and the international context.

In this sense, Mrs. Sonia Amelio was introduced as representative of UNICRI. She presented a project developed in the last few years in collaboration with several Countries, focused on the different ways to counter radicalisation in prison.


(UNICRI Representative)

UNICRI, as research institute, gladly accepted the invitation because these occasions are extremely important in order to share data, knowledge and experiences for the development of good practices at national and international level. UNICRI research activity is based on evidence gathered from the experiences of different countries.

The project that Mrs. Amelio presented, was based on the rehabilitation and the reintegration of violent extremists. During the speech, Mrs. Amelio explained the history, the role and the activities carried out by UNICRI.

UNICRI is a UN research institute which deals with interregional crime and justice established in Italy in 1965 pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution in order to support all the Member States in crime prevention and to improve the different justice systems. Its headquarters are located in Turin and another office is located in Rome.

According to its Statute, UNICRI mandate consists in supporting all the Member States through research and training activities aimed at creating and implementing procedures, good practices and policies relevant to the justice systems. The activities carried out by UNICRI focus on different subjects, such as foreign fighters, link between the organized crime at national and international level and terrorism, cyber terrorism, juvenile justice, rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists in prison. As UN institution, UNICRI is deeply committed to achieving the sustainable development goals, in particular the goal number 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institution”: by strong institution we mean those who are free from corruption, who ensure access to justice for all citizens. Therefore, in order to ensure a sustainable development, the creation and the promotion of inclusive societies are extremely important, provided that all the goals are linked to one another.

The goal number 16 touches different subjects linked to organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism and it consists in ensuring and promoting the State of law, in ensuring access to justice for all citizens, in strengthening the democratic institutions so as to develop capacity building and training in order to prevent violence and to counter crime and terrorism especially in developing countries.

The UNICRI counter terrorism program, who deals with the rehabilitation and the reintegration of violent extremists, was developed within the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force. This project was financed by the US State Department, which has insisted on the importance of prevention: some studies showed that the traditional approach based on security did not produce long-term positive results.

This Task Force was established in 2006 following the endorsement of the UN General Assembly through the UN Counter Terrorism Strategy and it is composed of 38 international agencies which want to share their experience in the fight against terrorism. This Strategy is based on 4 pillars, which represent the guidelines to follow in order to fight against terrorism:

  1. reasons which might result in the spread of terrorism
  2. preventive measures in order to counter terrorism
  3. strengthening the role of the UN and of the different countries
  4. measures which ensure the respect of human rights and the State of law.

This program is based on the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force memorandum and on the good practices for the rehabilitation and the reintegration of violent extremists developed within the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF). This Forum is composed by 29 Member State and the European Union. This memorandum is the result of two workshops jointly organized by UNICRI and the International Center for Counter Terrorism, based in The Hague, and it consists in a series of non-binding good practices which may form the basis for the creation and the implementation of different policies related to rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists in prison. The main objective of this program is supporting the Member State in the implementation of measures aimed at rehabilitating and reintegrating violent extremists even after their release.

In order to understand why these programs are so effective, it is important to understand what these programs mean, to assess risk factors, strategies and approaches that have to be implemented, who are the involved actors: not only the offenders but also the professional figures that have to be involved and trained, according to the needs of each countries.

There are many risk factors and terrorism threats: according to different news programs, acts of terrorism are usually committed for religious reasons but, in reality, religion is a mere pretext for involving new people. Therefore, we can actually speak of push and pull factors that attract the most vulnerable subjects, such as young people and women, or subjects that have important social demands so the used approach consists in provoking a change of attitude and behaviour in order to reintegrate the subject in the society, so this is a broader approach than that simply based on security. This new approach focuses the attention on prisons as a radicalisation source because prison population is more exposed to radicalisation. However, prison context can also participate in changing dangerous attitudes and behaviours and it can also represent a moment of redemption. Our approach is a cross-cutting approach based on the treatment, the education and the training of prisoners. This model concerns the training of personnel who daily deals with subjects charged with terrorism offences, that is psychologists, educators, national institutions, social operators, local communities and families, they have a crucial role both during the subject’s imprisonment and after his/her release. In this latter case, health professionals and religious leaders have an important role too. Through these programs, we have found that terrorism offenders are not so different from other type of offenders so both radicalisation and recidivism prevention in prisons are essential. We have held bilateral meetings with government representatives of the applicant countries in order to understand the real situation in their respective countries. Then, we personally saw the situation having field visits in Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Philippines and Thailand; Mrs. Amelio has visited prisons in the Philippines and in Kenya in order to make a mission assessment so that to understand the challenges and the difficulties that professionals have to face daily. On the basis of these visits, we have developed a specific program for professional training in each country. There is not a single model that is applicable to all countries, each country has specific needs. For example, some countries have difficulties in accepting aid from other countries because this aid is often perceived as an obligation, in this sense we wanted to underline that our aid was in form of suggestion and not in form of obligation. We have proposed the creation of a multidisciplinary team who was responsible of controlling the situation in each country. However, we have realized that these countries do not have SOPS (Standard Operating Procedures), that is to say that prisons do not adopt the same procedures so it is impossible to collect concerned data. Mrs. Amelio’s colleague has recently been in Kenya where UNICRI has started a training program for the juvenile justice based on good practices globally implemented. The results of this program will be presented in a final conference in Turin with the participation of the countries and the main international organizations that have taken part in the program.

The Italian Coordinator of the Meeting then introduced the other Parners’ representatives: Mr. De Vos of the Institut de formation judiciaire (Belgian judicial training institute); Mr. Allevi and Mr. Khaled Rhazzali of the Università di Padova; Mr. Savona of Transcrime; Mr. Bernardini and other representatives of Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”. She gave the floor to Mr. Razzante, professor of financial intermediation and anti-money laundering legislation at the Università di Bologna and president of the Italian Association of Anti-money laundering.


(Professor of financial intermediation and anti-money laundering legislation at Università di Bologna and president of the Italian Association of Anti-money laundering)

Money laundering is strictly linked to terrorism: according to Mr. Razzante, interpretative mistakes are made in this sense. The survival of criminal organisations (associative, mafia, terrorist and subversive) depends on money management. They consume and invest like in a real economy, so we can make a distinction between criminal economy and market economy (the official economy). Within this criminal economy we place tax evasion (the underground economy), especially in Italy but tax evasion should be placed within the official economy as well as money laundering and terrorism financing. We have two type of market: the official market, where payment instruments are legal and the criminal market, where there is no trace of legality. Mafia criminal organisations collaborate with terrorists, their common feature is the ability to finance and to be financed creating a dangerous exchange system. Within illegal market and economy, assets are accumulated through crimes and in the legal market, money is intended to boost these crimes and to set the obligations among the different mafia families or rather between mafia and terrorism financiers.

Mafia criminal organisations consume, invest and save money as ordinary citizens but if these activities are not performed within the legal market through money laundering, they cannot gain anything.

Money laundering is like a bridge between legal and illegal economy created by criminal associations with the voluntary or involuntary help of legal market and different States. In this way legal economy is polluted with the drug (i.e. money). The recycler has to pay a cost, the laundering cost, which used to be really high but nowadays mafia criminal organisations have established a laundering system within the same organisations. It was estimated that recyclers earned 10/30 % of the total gain. Then these percentages were reduced because mafia criminal organisations did not want to lose too much money on laundering.

Mafia and terrorist criminal organisations share the same purposes: destabilize markets and States democratic order for different reasons, mafia organisations need to move assets, they have to be delocalised not only from the South to the North of Italy but also abroad.

The main aim of terrorist organisations is not to earn money or to increase their power but to consolidate it in time and space destabilizing the State order for different reasons including religious ones. So terrorist and mafia organisations have the same amount of funds at their disposal, even if we know that acts of terrorism are less expensive than money laundering operations and it takes more money to finance mafia organisations than terrorists. It was deemed that terrorists and terrorist organisations were less able and less skilled than mafia organisations to deal with finance. However, terrorist organisations have learnt from the traditional financing methods of criminal organisations, if we look at the legal and illegal funding sources of terrorist organizations we can find classical methods used by mafia such as extortion, kidnapping, arms and drugs trafficking. It is no coincidence that a criminal organisation such as the ‘ndrangheta does business and smuggles drugs with terrorists obtaining drugs from different supplier such as Libya, considered the country of the Islamic State rebirth. Terrorist families who usually are tribal take advantage of serious social conditions in order to find cheap labour.

IS greatest achievements are the creation of an unprecedented communication system and new ways of moving assets. Therefore, the financial intelligence based on information sharing is absolutely necessary, if there is no information sharing the work of FIU (Financial Investigative Units) is useless; it is important to remember the huge role that FIU play in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

In this sense, there are two ways to follow the money: the ordinary way, because terrorism financiers and terrorists used traditional methods to transfer the money such as bank transfer to specifically created accounts and business. IS earns money from companies, compliant States and governments, offers to non-profit and charitable organisations. So, terrorism financing is so successful because all activities are traceable.

Attention should be directed not only on financial traditional instruments but especially on the innovative ones such as phone banking, cryptocurrencies, bitcoin system, etc.

Credit card issuers should provide more accurate anti money laundering controls, in order to prevent terrorism financing and money laundering.

In the second part of the day, the Coordinator of the Meeting presented the Universities and Research Institutes which will cooperate with the project. The representatives of these two bodies explained the know-how and their activities in relation to radicalisation. She introduced Mr. Ernesto Savona, director of Transcrime (an Institute for International Research linked to Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan). Mr. Savona is the project leader of «PROTON PROJECT. THE RISK FACTOR IN RECRUITING TERRORISTS», an ambitious project inside the program «HORIZON 2020».




(Professor of Criminology at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, and Director of Transcrime)

In this occasion, presented the research under the HORIZON 2020 program that he coordinated as Professor of Università Cattolica and wcovers the recruiting processes of organized criminality and terrorism. This research is one of the many driven in Europe since the 11th of September, 2001. Until that day, no one has ever thought about the presence of people who suicide to kill other people since the criminal rationality was not to kill itself but kill the others. The only exception were the Palestinian due to their own cultural believes but when Al Qaeda and Isis with million violence practicing came out to discuss their position, everyone started to reconsider rationality principles of criminals. This research analyzes economic, social and psychological factors of recruiting process of members of criminal and terrorist associations and it lasts 3 years, now we are at the beginning of the second year. The results are based on the risk factors of radicalisation: we found three types of risks that can be summed into high, medium and low. The high-leveled risk is linked to religious fundamentalism; the medium one is to attitudes or mental health and the low risk is linked to migration. We identified H1, H2 and H3 as risk factors that researchers listed to make an assessment of each one in order to verify if the hypothesis can be supported or denied. The past military experience has always been considered as a risk factors in the violent extremism, but nowadays being part of a gang could not be considered a risk factor. radicalisation starts in young people and follow a steady process but they happen during particular periods of life or in determined contexts. The contribution on protective factors given by the University of Cambridge has been essential because speaking of risk factors we have to consider also these protective factors such as self control or employment or the integration in the society. All these themes together in the next years will contribute to create a know-how in the risk factors that would be used in future.


Mr. Savona’s speech was quite effective and inspiring in the context of the Directorate General for Training. In fact, Mr. Savona’s inputs were appreciated, through PROTON research, as a valid help to develop education curricula and a specific know-how to deliver to penitentiary operators, social and community services, and to justice and police officials.

Next speakers were Professor Stefano Allievi and Mr. Khalid Rhazzali, both from Università di Padova, who have driven many key researches on external and Muslim communities.


(Professor at Università di Padova)

The Università di Padova has become a centre of excellence in the research on Islam; it has studied Islam in both the European and the Italian contexts since 30 years being interested in the Islam sociology and also in the sociology of immigration, which, in reality, are strictly linked. Researches carried out in recent years are based on a theoretical and practical principle, this choice is very useful because a better understanding of Islam sociology can result in a better understand of the sociology of other religions, in fact many people wrongly believe that Islam has anything to do with other religions, but, in reality, it is important to identify the common features between Islam and other religions. Mr. Allievi has worked on Islam conversion for many years and if it is true that Islam conversion is a form of radicalisation, if it is true that joining up as foreign fighters are proofs of existing islamisation and radicalisation and if it is true that many foreign fighters are converted, understanding how the conversion works can be very important. The Università di Padova has focused its attention: on second generations; some researchers don’t consider them from an objective point of view, they don’t take in consideration some deviant factors; on mosques and on conflicts surrounding mosques. Mr. Allievi has directed works of the most important comparative research that has been carried out so far. The Università di Padova has worked with the penitentiary context and, in this sense, it also has a university centre within prison. The Università di Padova has focused its attention in particular on internet, on the so-called Google Imam: it is well known that mosques, internet, prisons and difficulties of second generations play the main role in the radicalisation process. It has reconstructed the biographies of some Italian foreign fighters both men and women; it has focused its attention also on Islam perception, on anti-Islamic radicalisation resulting in a change of language, especially political language, and in institutional discrimination, suffice is to say that 3 Italian regions have approved explicitly anti-Islamic laws against places of worship and it is well known that anti-Islamic radicalisation causes discomfort in Muslim people resulting in a self-stigmatisation. As far as immigration is concerned, the Università di Padova has focused its attention on multiethnic neighbourhoods, on relationships with the society, on anti-immigrants public opinion, on what happens in schools, on deviance, on human trafficking, on the effective asylum seekers integration policies and on those which have not been effective in the last 2 years in Italy. The Università di Padova has excellent relations with researchers coming from other European countries and from Southern Mediterranean countries, in particular Maghreb, and it is present in institutional settings: Mr. Allievi and other 2 members of the Università di Padova are also members of the Consiglio per l’Islam italiano (Italian Islamic Council) within the Italian Ministry of the Interior, they were responsible of reports on mosques and Imams, Mr. Allievi was also member of the Commission on Jihadist Radicalisation within the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The Università di Padova has a good collaboration also at local level. Mr. Allievi stresses the importance of training. It has has dealt with self-financing education of Imams and of Islamic associative leaders in cooperation with a consortium of universities called FIDR, it has also dealt with university education for 3 years and a Master’s degree on Islam in Europe has been carried out at the Università di Padova so it has an important network of relationships with people who are active among the Italian Imams and within the Italian associative context. The Università di Padova has just started a new Mater’s degree in religions, politics and citizenship, this Master’ degree is attended by students coming from Maghreb and Gulf countries. The aim of this Master’s degree is to educate students to identify relations between religions, citizenship, politics, institutions and secularisation. The Università di Padova thanks to this Master’s degree has been creating experts in Islamic studies in Italy and in Europe since 7 years.


(Professor at Università di Padova)

Mr. Rhazzali was a student and he is currently a researcher of the Università di Padova. His PhD project was based on a research on the penitentiary context. He discovered the penitentiary reality in the mid ’90s, when he was interpreter and translator in this context. Mr. Rhazzali had the opportunity to perform various functions within the Italian penitentiary reality and now he is one of the most important expert of Islam in European prisons, especially in Italy and in Switzerland, and also in Maghreb countries since the last 3 years. He started his studies in the Sociology Department of the Università di Padova which could count on a school of sociology of religion. Here, he could work with the most imminent experts of radicalisation in Europe. Mr. Rhazzali focused his attention on the penitentiary context but at that time there were no studies in Italy and in Europe dealing with radicalisation. Two years ago, two experts in radicalisation have started a project on Islam in French and British prisons and they did a research on a subject which have no reference in literature and there were no links between prison studies and religion studies. The terrorist attack of 11th September 2001 has stimulated social studies in relation with religious studies which, until that moment, were not taken in consideration as well as in Italy there were no studies on the religious dimension in prisons. In his studies, Mr. Rhazzali has linked radicalisation with Jihadism and Islam. Muslim religion is not based on doctrinal needs, however prisoners started to request the right to profess their own religion on the basis of equal treatment and of the right to prayer mentioned in the penitentiary regulations.

Prison is a context where the State presence is very strong so religious dimension is described according to principles: the first one is the principle of the judicial culture of the Italian context and the secularity of the State; the second one is the principle of the Universal Human Rights. These two principles have created a new approach which was implemented by the Islamic organizations stressing the importance of religious assistance. Mr. Rhazzali carried out these studies, financed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (the French National Agency for research), in collaboration with researchers coming from Switzerland, France and Great Britain. The “Circulations religieuses et ancrages méditerranéens” project has enabled Mr. Rhazzali and other researchers to work on Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan contexts; here, they have found that religious celebrations as well as moments of prayer were forbidden. These States have started to work on security only recently and it should not be strange that sociological analysis anticipates theological reflection. This project has enabled the Università di Padova to identify new tools in order to carry out comparative studies on radicalisation which requires in-depth studies on everyday reality to develop a prevention approach. The Università di Padova has supported the RASMORAD project establishing relationships with Islamic associations.

Next speaker was Mr. Michele Bernardini, Professor at the Università L’Orientale di Napoli. He is a historian of Persian civilization and a philologist in Turkish.

Michele Bernardini

(Professor at Università L’Orientale di Napoli)

Mr. Bernardini thanked for the invitation to participate in this project. The Università L’Orientale di Napoli has a different historical background: it was founded in 1732 for missionary purposes and then it became a study centre, in particular the Department of Asian, African and Mediterranean Studies, leaded by Mr. Bernardini, focuses its attention on the study and the analysis of Asian and African realities, moreover within the same department more than 47 different languages are taught such as: Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Berber, Hausa, Arabic dialects and others. Languages are the centre of studies and researches carried out by the Università L’Orientale di Napoli and by Mr. Bernardini; currently new researches are focused on traditional Islamic Studies, Islamic archaeology, Semitic studies, gender study, Islamic sociology, Muslim history and law. The Università L’Orientale di Napoli is anchored in the past, it is not dynamic as the other institutions. In the previous meeting, a handbook for the penitentiary personnel training has been created however Mr. Bernardini proposes a summary to better define traditional Islam: understanding Islam is important in order to accept the existing differences between other cultures, such as the reason why the Koran’s words can not be manipulated. Mr. Bernardini and his colleagues have studied for years Koran’s phrases posted on Internet sites and their sense from an Islamic point of view. This also applies to the Umma, the so-called Muslim community. Social functions within the Umma are very clear and they are not necessarily the same in the Italian context or in the penitentiary context. Understanding the real meanings of two words such as Umma and Jihad is very important, so in order to do that Mr. Bernardini and his colleagues have worked on a historical volume, recently published, focusing on the Islamic history. Jihad is not a fundamental aspect of Islamic religion, it is something that goes beyond the traditional Islamic rules. Mr. Bernardini and his colleagues want to orient work towards diversity perception, they have been working on Muslim diversity for a long time using literature references, the saddest fact is the corruption of a culture’s customs, habits and traditions. A great literature based on the relationship between Islam and Internet has been created and Mr. Bernardini and his colleagues want to contribute identifying some salient aspects. In particular, Mr. Bernardini wants to focus his attention on family relationships bearing in mind that hierarchy is very important in establishing a family and on the role that women play in the family context analysing the psychological aspects resulting from these codified rules. Finally, the Università L’Orientale di Napoli wants to increase its contribution carrying out a language study in order to draw up a vocabulary identifying the terminology and explaining the importance of some words which are very important in the Islamic culture such as Jihad. The objective of this vocabulary is to increase knowledge on Islamic culture, the Università di Padova will be involved in this project in order to create a strong collaboration bearing in mind that this is a vocabulary and it is not a common book which you can find in bookshops so contents have to be extremely clear. Mr. Bernardini and his colleagues want to finish the vocabulary project by September.