Almost half of young Italians dislike foreigners: poll
Fri, Feb 19, 2010

ROME (AFP) - Almost half of young Italians are intolerant of foreigners or xenophobic, according to a study presented to the country's parliament on Thursday.

The poll of 2,000 people aged 18 to 29 found 46 percent expressed some form of hostility to foreigners, while 40 percent said they were "open" to people from other countries.

Among those hostile to foreigners, the study identified three distinct groups. One, accounting for one in 10 of those surveyed, was made up of overt racists.

A second, representing 15 percent, said it had a "phobia of Romanians, gypsies and Albanians", and was dominated by women.

The third group, representing 20 percent of those surveyed, were xenophobic and wanted foreigners to live apart from them, preferably outside Italy, but did not condone violence against them.

The study by the SWG research institute said there were around 1,000 xenophobic groups on the social networking website Facebook in Italy, including some 100 against Muslims, 300 against gypsies and 350 against immigrants.

Responding to the survey, the speaker of Italy's lower house of parliament Gianfranco Fini called on deputies to come up with an Italian model for integrating immigrants.

Last month United Nations human rights experts called on Italy to tackle racism following two nights of violence against African farm workers in the south of the country that left 31 migrants injured and forced more than 1,000
to flee.

Fini said recent tensions between South American and North African immigrants in Milan showed "it was not enough to give them (the immigrants) a job."

"We need to reduce the delays in obtaining nationality and give them the right to vote in local elections without being Italian," Fini said.

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