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Religions 2015, 6(4), 1137-1167;

Explaining Support for Sectarian Terrorism in Pakistan: Piety, Maslak and Sharia

Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 3600 N. St., Washington, DC 2007, USA
Academic Editor: John L. Esposito
Received: 20 July 2015 / Revised: 4 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Violence)
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In the discourse around sectarian violence in Pakistan, two concerns are prominent. The first is the contention that piety, or the intensity of Muslim religious practice, predicts support for sectarian and other forms of Islamist violence. The second is the belief that personal preferences for some forms of sharia also explain such support. As I describe herein, scholars first articulated these concerns in the “clash of civilizations” thesis. Subsequent researchers developed them further in the scholarly and policy analytical literatures that explored these linkages through qualitative and quantitative methodologies. I revisit these claims in the particular context of sectarian violence in Pakistan. To do so, I use several questions included in a recent and large national survey of Pakistanis to create indices of both piety and support for three dimensions of sharia. I use these indices as explanatory variables, along with other explanatory and control variables, in a regression analysis of support for sectarian violence, the dependent variable. I find that the piety index and dimensions of sharia support are significant only when district fixed effects are excluded; however, personal characteristics (i.e., the particular school of Islam respondents espouse, ethnicity, several demographics) most consistently predict support for sectarian violence. View Full-Text
Keywords: sectarian violence; Pakistan; public support for terrorism sectarian violence; Pakistan; public support for terrorism

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Fair, C.C. Explaining Support for Sectarian Terrorism in Pakistan: Piety, Maslak and Sharia. Religions 2015, 6, 1137-1167.

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