Religion

Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders

“No to religion or sect,” cry the protesters in Iraq. “No to Islam, no to Christianity, revolt for the nation,” echo those in Lebanon. Across the Arab world people are turning against religious political parties and the clerics who helped bring them to power. Many appear to be giving up on Islam, too. These trends are reflected in new data from…

Islam, Religious Outlooks, and Support for Democracy

Despite a wealth of studies examining Muslim religiosity and democracy, uncertainty regarding Islam and attitudes toward democracy remains. Although the claims concerning the incompatibility of Islam and democracy are generally discarded, public opinion scholarship has yet to build much further from this important first step or incorporate a strong theoretical framework for analysis beyond this basic foundation. This paper seeks…

Determinants of Arab public opinion on the Caliphate: Islamist elites, religiosity and socioeconomic conditions

What are the determinants of public opinion on the issue of the Caliphate in the Arab world? My answer to this question outlines the key role played by Islamist elites, religiosity and age in influencing Arab opinion on the issue of the Caliphate in three countries during the early Age of Islamism (1980s–1990s). I do so by using Binary Logistic…

The Road Not Taken: Fostering Research on the Psychology of Religiosity and Spirituality via Underused Representative, Open-Access Datasets (ROADs)

Psychologists studying religiosity and spirituality (R/S) often face several challenges when conducting their research, such as collecting data from nationally representative samples, cross-cultural generalizability, statistical power, and integrated multilevel approaches. We examined one potential solution—the use of Representative, Open-Access Datasets (ROADs), which are currently underutilized. In this article, we define ROADs; discuss affordances, obstacles, and best practices in using them;…

Support for feminism among highly religious Muslim citizens in the Arab region

Public opinion studies argue that in Middle Eastern and North African countries, Muslims support gender equality less than non-Muslims. This overlooks the diversity in religion–feminism relations. Highly religious Muslims who support feminism are disregarded, even though in-depth studies have repeatedly pointed to their existence. Grounded in a structured anthology of qualitative studies on Muslim feminism, we provide the first ever…

Infrastructure Provision, Politics and Religion: Insights from Tunisia’s new democracy

This paper analyzes the relationship between access to infrastructure services and support for religious parties based on the evidence produced by a recent democratic experience in Tunisia in which a religious political party, Ennahdha, governed from 2011 to 2014. The experience points to a complex relationship. In the 2011 election, areas with higher access are associated with higher support for…

Why Is There So Little Shia–Sunni Dialogue? Understanding the Deficit of Intra-Muslim Dialogue and Interreligious Peacemaking

Despite a growth in fatalities resulting from organized violence with Shia–Sunni dimensions over the last two decades, in this study, we show, using existing data-bases on interreligious dialogue and peacemaking, that only less than two percent of the interreligious peacemaking organizations in the world are specialized in dialogue between Shias and Sunnis. Why is there so little institutionalized Shia–Sunni dialogue…

Poverty and Divine Rewards: The Electoral Advantage of Islamist Political Parties

Political life in many Muslim‐majority countries has been marked by the electoral dominance of Islamist parties. Recent attempts to explain why have highlighted their material and organizational factors, such as the provision of social services. In this article, we revive an older literature that emphasizes the appeal of these parties’ religious nature to voters experiencing economic hardship. Individuals suffering economic…

How Polities Shape Support for Gender Equality and Religiosity’s Impact in Arab Countries

Previous public opinion studies argued that in the Arab Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Muslim citizens support gender equality less than non-Muslims, due to Islamic-patriarchal socialization. Deviating from this Orientalist narrative, we formulate a context-dependent agentic-socialization framework, which acknowledges religiosity’s and gender equality’s multidimensionality along with the MENA’s political-institutional diversity. We expect that religious service attendance and devotion decrease…

Religion and Tolerance of Minority Sects in the Arab World

Does religious behavior always promote hostility toward members of other faiths? This article suggests that the relationship between personal religious behavior and religious tolerance is not so simple. Even in the Arab World, frequently cited as a center of religious piety and intolerance, different forms of religious behavior have markedly different effects on attitudes toward minority sects. Using both observational…