Thursday, July 06, 2017

Islam and the Mafia: ‘Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse’ - Raymond Ibrahim

http://raymondibrahim.com/about/


About


RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam specialist.  His books include Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, New York Times Syndicate, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hoover Institution’s Strategika, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, such as American Thinker, the Blaze, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Christian Post, Daily Caller, FrontPage Magazine, Gatestone Institute, the Inquisitr, Jihad Watch, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, the UK’s Commentator, WND, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and been translated into dozens of languages.
Ibrahim guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, Blaze TV, CBN, and NPR; he has done hundreds of radio interviews and instructed two courses for Prager University.
Ibrahim’s dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East—has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former. His interest in Islamic civilization was first piqued when he began visiting the Middle East as a child in the 1970s. Interacting and conversing with the locals throughout the decades has provided him with an intimate appreciation for that part of the world, complementing his academic training.
Raymond received his B.A. and M.A. (both in History, focusing on the ancient and medieval Near East, with dual-minors in Philosophy and Literature) from California State University, Fresno. There he studied closely with noted military-historian Victor Davis Hanson. He also took graduate courses at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies—including classes on the history, politics, and economics of the Arab world—and studied Medieval Islam and Semitic languages at Catholic University of America. His M.A. thesis examined an early military encounter between Islam and Byzantium based on arcane Arabic and Greek texts.
Ibrahim’s resume includes: serving as an Arabic language and regional specialist at the Near East Section of the Library of Congress, where he was often contacted by, and provided information to, defense and intelligence personnel involved in the fields of counterterrorism and area studies, as well as the Congressional Research Service; serving as associate director of the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank; and serving as a CBN News analyst and contributor.
He resigned from all positions in order to focus exclusively on researching and writing, and is currently a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum, and a Hoover Institution Media Fellow (2013), among other titles and affiliations.
http://raymondibrahim.com/2014/10/28/islam-and-the-mafia-making-an-offer-you-cant-refuse/



Islam and the Mafia: ‘Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse’


Editor’s note: The following is Part Three of a three-part series examining the many parallels between Islam and the mafia following Bill Maher’s recent exclamation 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.” Click for Part One and for Part Two.
Coercion and Death Threats
Although the novel turned movie, The Godfather, is fictitious, it also captures much of the mafia’s modus operandi.  Consider, for example, that most famous of lines—“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”—spoken by the Godfather to one of his “godsons,” an aspiring actor and singer, who, after being turned down by a studio director for a role that he desperately wanted, turns to his Godfather for aid.
As the movie progresses, we discover that the offer that the director can’t refuse is nothing less than violence and the threat of death: after the Godfather’s messenger to the director asking that the actor be given the role is again rejected, the studio head awakes to find the bloodied and decapitated head of his favorite stallion in bed with him.  The godson subsequently gets the movie role.
Throughout the context of the entire Godfather trilogy—and indeed, in the context of the mafia—making someone “an offer they can’t refuse”—comes to mean “do as I say or suffer the consequences,” possibly death.
Compare this to Islam’s threefold choice.  On Muhammad’s orders, whenever Islamic jihadis conquer a territory, they are to “offer” non-Muslim inhabitants three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) maintain your own religion (an option technically only available to Christians and Jews) but pay tribute and live as a subdued third-class citizen, a “dhimmi,” or 3) die.
Not only do the primary historical texts written by authoritative Muslims record this aspect of Islam, but to this very day, Islam’s threefold choice is making headlines, most recently at the hands of the Islamic State.
The ‘Protection Racket’
Once the mafia gains a “territory,” one  of the primary ways it profits is by collecting “protection money”  from the inhabitants.  While the protection racket has several faces, one in particular is akin to an Islamic institution: the idea of coercing people in the mafia’s territory to pay money for “protection,” ostensibly from outside forces, when in fact the protection bought is from the mafia itself—that is, extortion money, or pizzo.   Potential “clients” who refuse the mafia’s “protection” often have their property vandalized and are routinely threatened and harassed.
Compare pizzo with the Islamic concept of jizya:  The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”
In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad—in our analogy, the “underboss”—regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”
The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”
Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).
Interestingly, just as the mafia rationalizes its collection of “protection money” by portraying it as money paid to buy mafia protection against “outsiders”—when, as mentioned, the money/tribute serves only to protect the client from the mafia itself—so too do Islam’s apologists portray the collection of jizya as money meant to buy Muslim protection from outsiders, when in fact the money/jizya buys protection from Muslims themselves.
Conclusion: Mafia—What’s In a Word?
What accounts for all these similarities between Islam and the mafia?  It is further telling that the word mafia itself, which means “hostility to the law, boldness,” is believed to be derived from the Arabic slang word, mahya, which in translation 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 much of the mafia’s modus operandi also have been borrowed from Islam?  Could native Sicilians, over the centuries, have co-opted the techniques of social controls that they had lived under and learned from their former overlords—albeit free from their Islamic trappings?
Either way, when HBO personality 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 barely touching the tip of the iceberg of similarities between Islam and the mafia.