Religious causes of discrimination against ethno-religious minorities

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Most existing large-n cross-sectional analyses of ethnic conflict focus on the behavior of the ethnic minority rather than the behavior of the state. That is, they tend to attempt to predict or explain the level of protest or rebellion in which ethnic minorities engage at the expense of determining the causes for the behavior of the government of the state in which these minorities live. Previous studies have determined that discrimination against minority groups is one of the major causes of ethnic protest and rebellion. In addition, much of the literature on ethnic conflict does not sufficiently deal with the religious causes of that conflict. Accordingly this study focuses on the causes of discrimination with a particular emphasis on the religious causes. This study analyzes two populations from the Minorities at Risk dataset: the 105 religiously differentiated minorities and the 163 minorities that are not religiously differentiated. The results show that religious factors influence the process that leads to discrimination and that the causes of religious discrimination are distinct from the causes of other types of discrimination. In addition, the dynamics of this process are markedly different between the two populations analyzed here. All of this, along with other factors, implies that religion is not merely a reflection of general cultural differences, but rather has a distinct and separate influence on ethnic conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-450
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


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