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Religion as ResistanceNegotiating Authority in Italian Libya$
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Eileen Ryan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190673796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190673796.001.0001

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Religion and Power in the Fascist Colonies

Religion and Power in the Fascist Colonies

(p.135) 5 Religion and Power in the Fascist Colonies
Religion as Resistance

Eileen Ryan

Oxford University Press

Idris al-Sanusi’s departure and the rise of the fascist regime in Italy introduced a new phase in the Italian occupation of Libya. The Sanusiyya came to be redefined as an anticolonial Islamic force rather than an intermediary of state authority. Under the leadership of Mussolini’s first minister of colonies, Luigi Federzoni, the Italian colonial administration moved away from attempts to negotiate authority through Sanusi mediation, though this shift occurred gradually. At the same time, Federzoni introduced a firm commitment to a Catholic identity in Italian imperial expansion. This hardening of divisions culminated in the military campaign known as the reconquest of the Libyan interior in the late 1920s. The symbolic end of the campaign occurred with the capture and execution of the Sanusi military leader ‘Umar al-Mukhtar in 1931. Declaring Libya open for mass colonization, the fascist colonial administration imagined a territory that would become fully Italian and fully Catholic.

Keywords:   fascism, Luigi Federzoni, ‘Umar al-Mukhtar, reconquest, black shirts, MVSN

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