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The influence of Islamic orientations on democratic support and tolerance in five Arab countries

Spierings, Niels (2014) The influence of Islamic orientations on democratic support and tolerance in five Arab countries. Politics and Religion, 7 (4). pp. 706-733. ISSN 1755-0483

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S1755048314000479


Conclusions from empirical analyses on how Islam influences democratic attitudes in Arab countries differ widely, and the field suffers from conceptual ambiguity and largely focuses on “superficial” democratic support. Based on the non-Middle Eastern literature, this study provides a more systematic theoretical and empirical assessment of the linkages between Islamic attitudes and the popular support for democracy. I link belonging (affiliation), commitment (religiosity), orthodoxy, Muslim political attitudes, and individual-level political Islamism to the support for democracy and politico-religious tolerance. Statistical analyses on seven WVS surveys for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia show that tolerance levels are remarkably lower than “democratic support”; the influence of being (committed or orthodox) Muslim and Muslim political attitudes are negligible however. Political Islamist views strongly affect tolerance negatively. They also influence “support for democracy,” but if the opposition in an authoritarian country is Islamic, these attitudes actually strengthen this support.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2014 13:20
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2024 00:21

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