Jihadism in Italy has followed a route that differs somewhat from the paths it has taken in most Western European countries. Italy was one of the first countries on the Continent to witness jihadist activities on a relatively large scale: as early as the first part of the 1990s, various Italian-based North African networks were playing a prominent role in the nascent global jihadist movement. Yet, in the early and mid-2000s, when most Western European countries were confronted by various challenges coming from both traditional and home-grown jihadist networks, the situation in Italy was relatively quiet.
This was the result of two factors. First, the pressure put by Italian authorities on structured networks either disrupted them or forced them to decrease the intensity of their activities. At the same time, this diminished role did not correspond to a growth of home-grown networks. Throughout the early and mid-2000s, Italian authorities did not detect any sign of the forms of home-grown radicalisation that were increasingly spotted throughout Europe.