Religion: Nationalism and Identity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the last decade, it has come to be generally recognized in Western countries that religious identity has not been eclipsed by national identity but remains as a powerful political force, interacting with national identity in complex ways and sometimes superseding it. Much of the most obvious evidence for this comes from an increased awareness of and contact with Islam, particularly because so many Muslims believe that loyalty to the Muslim 'umma, i.e. the community of all Muslims, is more important than loyalty to the nation or state. This is reflected in the behavior of Muslim immigrants to Western countries, the powerful effect of religion on democratic elections in Muslim countries, and violent conflicts between Muslims belonging to different sects but having the same nationality. But similar interaction can also be found in non-Muslim societies. Religiously-motivated Christians, Hindus, and Jews in Western countries, India, and Israel have become increasingly sophisticated in terms of using democratic institutions to influence national policy and decision marking in accordance with their own religious convictions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Christianity
  • Collective violence
  • Fundamentalism
  • Hindu
  • Islam
  • Nationalism
  • Religiosity
  • Religious identity
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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