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Italian Mafia Takes Cues from Islamic State

Sporting beards and obsessed with death, a new generation of Italian Mafiosi is modelling itself on Islamic State jihadists in order to strike terror into the local population, according to Italian anti-Mafia officials.

Judge Nicola Quatrano calls them the “Baby Camorra,” a younger and more violent generation of Neapolitan Mafia members who are taking over from older bosses, while styling themselves as ruthless as ISIS militants.

The Camorra, a branch of the Italian Mafia whose hub is the city of Naples, are even taking fashion tips from Islamic extremists, with a number of their members wearing full beards reminiscent of the Taliban.

Quatrano says that “a more subtle, existential thread” seems to bind the young Camorristi to jihadist militants, since both groups are “obsessed with death” and kill and are killed as if it were “the only chance to make sense of their lives.”

On Monday, Quatrano filed 43 convictions with sentences from 14 to 20 years of imprisonment imposed on a number of the new Mafiosi, having acceded to requests by prosecutors Francesco De Falco and Henry John Woodcock.

In its ruling the Quatrano court emphasized that the goal of recent Mafia raids was twofold, “ousting the powerful Mazzarella family from the historic center of Naples and effecting a radical generational change,” with a new, younger set taking over.

The judge said that the new Mafia set is “a group of young and very young driven by a powerful aspiration for a generational shift” by shaking up the older Mafia hierarchy.

The new bosses “are indifferent to the traditional concept of prestige, perhaps because of extended terms done in prison.” In their place, the new bosses have adopted the values of “ability and efficiency,” he added.

Vincenzo Morgese, who works with young offenders in Naples, said that in the imagination of young Neapolitan mobsters, “Islamic State represents ferocity and a lack of fear. It’s a symbol of the fight against the State, against institutions and against other tribes.”

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter  

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