The Role of Socio-Economic Factors in Influencing Religious Beliefs and Intergroup Attitudes of Muslim Majorities and Minorities
AuthorAli, Syed Hammad
Committee MemberAsatryan, Mushegh
Ethnic and Racial Studies
Sociology--Theory and Methods
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AbstractThis thesis uses a wide range of secondary datasets collected by Pew Research Center (2010; 2011; 2013; 2017) to explore how Muslims’ changing socio-economic conditions influence their religious beliefs and intergroup attitudes. It questions the attempts of those critics and proponents of Islam and Muslims who essentialize Islam and assume it to be the sole/major determinant shaping Muslims’ religious perspectives and attitudes toward others. The thesis counter-argues this prevailing approach by presenting the findings of three studies. The central premise of each of the three papers is that Muslims’ varying socio-economic contexts influence their religious interpretations and intergroup relationships. The first paper uses descriptive statistics to show that variation in the Muslim population proportions in 40 different countries and the nature of their interactions with non-Muslims influence their religious views and intergroup attitudes. The next two papers use multivariate statistics and focus on studying how American Muslims’ changing socio-economic realities influence their salvific beliefs and attitudes toward same-sex relationships. The findings of the second paper reveal that cross-group friendship, high economic status, and being a Muslim convert are associated with the belief that besides Islam, other religions can also lead to eternal salvation in the hereafter. The results also reveal that not every religiosity dimension is associated with the belief that only Islam provides eternal salvation. The findings of the third paper show that men, compared with women, and more religious individuals are less likely to agree that society should accept same-sex relationships. In contrast, those from higher-income households are more likely to agree that society should accept gay and lesbian relationships. In addition, American Muslims’ religiosity-prejudice link is moderated by their income levels. Overall, the findings of this thesis indicate that Muslims’ varying socio-economic contexts influence their interpretations of Islam and attitudes toward others. Consequently, the thesis questions the underlying assumption of the essentialist approach that the contents of Islam are relatively fixed and exclusively inform Muslims’ religious opinions and intergroup attitudes.
CitationAli, S. H. (2021). The Role of Socio-Economic Factors in Influencing Religious Beliefs and Intergroup Attitudes of Muslim Majorities and Minorities (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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