The Ethnic-Religious Nexus: The Impact of Religion on Ethnic Conflict
by Jonathan Fox
vol. 3, iss. 3
Since the end of the Cold War, religion and ethnicity have been major causes of domestic conflict. This work examines the nexus between religious and ethnic causes of conflict based on information from the Minorities at Risk data-set as well as information collected by other studies. The findings show that while the primary causes of ethnic conflict are non-religious ethnic issues, the majority of ethnic conflicts involve religious issues. Religion can cause ethnic conflicts when the religious beliefs of an ethnic group are threatened by another group or when religious laws are believed to call for conflictive action. Religion can become involved in ethnic conflicts that have secular causes through the use of religious institutions and legitimacy in the conflict. Occasionally, this involvement of religion can transform a secular conflict into a religious one.