Do religious institutions support violence or the status quo?

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The literature on the role of religious institutions in ethnic conflict does not answer the question of whether these institutions support violence or the status quo. From a resource mobilization perspective, religious institutions generally have the organizational resources to facilitate opposition to the status quo. However, it is also clear that most religions at different times have supported both violence and the status quo. An analysis of 105 ethnoreligious minorities using data from the Minorities at Risk project shows that religious institutions tend to inhibit peaceful opposition unless there is a sufficient level of perceived threat to the religious institutions or the religion itself, in which case religious institutions tend to facilitate political opposition among ethno-religious minorities. However, the decision to violently oppose a regime is based mostly on secular factors including the desire for some form of autonomy or independence and political discrimination against the ethno-religious minority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-139
Number of pages21
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


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