"This fellow, my dear friend, has a fixation about the mafia. One of these Northerners with a head full of prejudices who begin to see mafia in everything before they even get off the ferry-boat. If he says that Colasberna was killed by the mafia we're sunk......................"
"Do you believe in the mafia?"
"No, I don't."
"Good man! We two, both Sicilians, don't believe in the mafia. That ought to mean some thing to you, who evidently do."
from The Day of The Owl by Leonardo Sciascia ,born in Racalmuto, Sicily 1920
My favourite definition of "maffia" is Petrocchi's as stated in the essay Philology also by Leonardo Sciascia.
"An association of people from all classes of society and from all walks of life, who lend each other assistance regardless of legal or moral principles."
That could apply to so many associations that it perhaps even more frightening than just regarding mafia as a load of gangsters.