By RAYMOND IBRAHIM
…What accounts for the similarities between Islam and the mafia? One clue is found in the word “mafia,” which means “hostility to the law, boldness.” It is derived from the Arabic word mahya, which means “bragging, boasting, bravado, and swaggering.”
This etymology is a reminder that Sicily, birthplace of the mafia, was under Arab/Islamic domination for over 200 years. Aside from a borrowed etymology, could some of the mafia’s modus operandi also have been borrowed from Islam? Isolated on their island, could native Sicilians have co-opted the techniques of social controls that they had lived under and learned from their former overlords, albeit without an Islamic veneer?
The mafia is not the only historical example of a non-Muslim criminal organization to be influenced by Islam. The Thuggees — whence we get the word “thug” — were a brotherhood of allied bandits and assassins who waylaid and savagely murdered travelers in India, often by first feigning friendship. Along with assassinating his opponents, including through treachery, Muhammad also personally engaged in banditry, ransacking the caravans of enemy tribes. Although the Thuggees were later associated with the Hindu cult of Kali, the original Thuggees were all Muslim. As late as the 19th century, a large number of Thuggees captured and convicted by the British were Muslim.
When Bill Maher recently proclaimed that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book,” he was just scratching the surface of the similarities between the mafia and Islam.