Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1971037
 
 

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Faith or Doctrine? Islam and Support for Political Violence in Pakistan


C. Christine Fair


Georgetown University

Neil A. Malhotra


Stanford Graduate School of Business

Jacob N. Shapiro


Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

December 11, 2011


Abstract:     
Discussions of how to deal with terrorism around the world have repeatedly touched on whether Islam contributes to a uniquely virulent strain of non-state violence targeted at civilians. These popular debates almost always conceive of “Islam” in general terms, not clearly defining what is meant by Islamic religious faith. We address this debate by designing and conducting a large-scale public opinion survey in Pakistan. We measure multiple elements of religiosity, allowing us to separately consider the relationship between militancy support and (1) personal piety, (2) support for political Islam, and (3) jihadism, which we define as a particular textual interpretation common to Islamist groups espousing violent political action. Further, we measure support for specific militant organizations using a novel form of an “endorsement experiment” to address the challenges of asking about these sensitive issues in a violent context. We find that neither personal religious piety nor support for political Islam is correlated with support for militant organizations. However, Pakistanis who believe jihad is both an external militarized struggle and that it can be waged by individuals are more supportive of militant groups than those who believe it is an internal struggle for righteousness.

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Date posted: December 12, 2011 ; Last revised: January 26, 2012

Suggested Citation

Fair, C. Christine and Malhotra, Neil A. and Shapiro, Jacob N., Faith or Doctrine? Islam and Support for Political Violence in Pakistan (December 11, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1971037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1971037

Contact Information

C. Christine Fair (Contact Author)
Georgetown University ( email )
Washington, DC 20057
United States
Neil A. Malhotra
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
Jacob N. Shapiro
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
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