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Studies 19 November, 2019

Analysis from the Arab Opinion Index

Religiosity and its Political Effects

Dana El Kurd

Researcher at the Arab Center. She obtained a doctorate in political science from the University of Texas in Austin, USA. Her research interests focus on comparative politics and international relations, specifically Palestine, and the relationship of authoritarianism in the Arab world to American intervention.

What is the effect of religiosity on public opinion? Islamist religiosity in particular has been linked to a variety of outcomes, including authoritarianism and violence. Nevertheless, many scholars have countered that there is in fact no relationship between religiosity in the Arab world and adverse political outcomes. Thus the debate remains unresolved to some degree. To adjudicate this debate, we use the Arab Opinion Index's 2016 data to examine the effect of individual religiosity on public opinion and political behavior. We find that there is no link between increased religiosity and negative views of democracy; in fact, the opposite is the case. There is also no link between religiosity and political participation. Finally, there is a positive correlation between religiosity and political tolerance.


* This study was published in the second issue of AlMuntaqa, peer-reviewed academic journal for the social sciences and humanities, (pp. 81-89). You can read the full paper here.

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