Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Sherkat, Darren

Abstract

The roles of the various aspects of religion have been examined regarding political thinking, ideology and the political participation of Americans including minority groups such as African Americans, Latinos, and Asians. However, little is known about the effects of Islamic religiosity on American Muslims. The Pew Survey on American Muslims (2007) (Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life) measures the effects of various religious beliefs, conservatism, practices, and contexts on different aspects of political thinking and participation such as registration for voting, voting in elections, beliefs about the roles of government, and sexuality. The results show that, in terms of political behavior, only the happiness factor has a significant effect on registration for voting. While belief in the Judgment Day and in the existence of angels, the belief that there is more than one interpretation of Islamic teaching, and the feeling of being an American first had significant effects on voting in the presidential elections of 2004, conservatism (the belief in the Quran's inerrancy and in taking the Quran's teachings literally) negatively affected voting for Bush. In terms of a preference for either a large or a small government and attitudes toward the responsibility of the government in helping the poor, results show that a belief in the importance of zakat and the presence of happiness increases the odds of preferring a big government. Beliefs in the Judgment Day and in angels, a perceived conflict between Western and Islamic values, and religious scales of religious commitment affect the odds of the responsibility of the government in helping the poor. Other religious factors affect attitudes towards homosexuality and the involvement of the mosque in politics and the responsibility of the government in protecting the morality of society. The results show that few of the religious factors affect the political thinking and political participation of American Muslims. More research is needed to study the political behavior of small social and immigrant groups in the US.

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