Religious Identities, Sectarianism, and Regime Politics

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
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What makes religious identities salient or insignificant across contexts? Why does religious diversity sometimes lead to sectarian conflict and other times pose no threat to peace and stability? Does religious identity manifest itself only in diverse settings? And what are the consequences of these identities for regime support or opposition? I examine these questions in a comparative perspective, including an analysis of the Moroccan case. Morocco is a setting that, despite its relative religious homogeneity, has close linkages between religious and political identities. Religious identities serve as an important tool for building support for the monarchy, which claims descent from the prophet Muhammad. Despite a salient ethnic cleavage, evidence suggests that Moroccans strongly identify as either Sunnis or Muslims more generally, but little is known about how these identities translate into political preferences. This project explores the implications of these identities at the individual level.