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Religion and Civic Engagement in Muslim Countries

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Previous studies of religion on civic and political participation focus primarily on Western Christian societies. Studies of Muslim societies concentrate on Islamic religiosity's effect on attitudes toward democracy, not on how Muslim religious participation carries over into social and political arenas. This article examines the relationship between religion and civic engagement in nine Muslim‐majority countries using data from the World Values Surveys. I find that active participation in Muslim organizations is associated with greater civic engagement, while religious service attendance is not. In a subset of countries, daily prayer is associated with less civic engagement. The main area in which Muslim societies differ from Western ones is in the lack of association between civic engagement, trust, and tolerance. Religious participation is a more significant predictor of secular engagement than commonly used “social capital” measures, suggesting a need to adapt measures of religiosity to account for differences in religious expression across non‐Christian faiths.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Michigan State University

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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