Islam, Identity, and the Organizational Roots of Political Tolerance
30 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 15, 2018
The growing literature on tolerance has struggled to understand its social foundations. In this paper we argue theoretically, and show empirically, that religious organizations play a central role in shaping tolerance towards religious minorities. Drawing on a rich survey of 1000 elites from three large Muslim organizations in Indonesia, we demonstrate that Muslims elites’ willingness to tolerate Christians depends on the social situation, and we identify distinct patterns of tolerance in the domains of politics, the public sphere, residential segregation, demonstration, education, and religion. We then demonstrate that organizational membership, in and of itself, does not explain attitudes of political tolerance; instead, organizational identification does. Among those elites whose organizational ties are weak relative to their identification with their faith or with Indonesia, organizational membership does not explain tolerance. Our argument provides structure to the complex interactions among organizations, identities, and tolerance in the Muslim world.
Keywords: Islam, tolerance, religion, identity, Indonesia
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