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Religious Groups and Terrorist Attacks: A Violent Match?

Nil Satana
Bilkent University
Nil Satana
Bilkent University
Open Panel

Abstract

Birnir and Satana (2010) examine how minority and majority religions and fundamentalism affect the probability that an ethnic majority invites an ethnic minority to collaborate in governing coalitions in democracies worldwide. The empirical results suggest that ethnic majority politicians are quite strategic when considering collaboration with ethnic minorities of various religious backgrounds. In other words, theoretically we argue that democratic institutions and coalition building strategies matter for violence. Empirically, Birnir and Satana (2009) study fundamentalist religious groups and violence, and find that fundamentalist religious minority groups use terrorism strategically and/or as a result of group characteristics. Building on this work, in this paper we assemble an original dataset on all fundamentalist religious minority and majority groups (as classified by the Minorities at Risk Expanded (MAR-E) dataset) in all democracies and autocracies. We also code indicators for religious differences and monotheism for all ethnic groups in the world. Then we merge these new data with the Global Terrorism Dataset (GTD) for indicators of violence, matching the GTD terrorist attacks with the religious fundamentalist groups. The matching variable builds a bridge between the GTD and MAR data sets. We then use the matched data to test the hypothesis that fundamentalist groups are strategic rather than symbolic in their use of terrorism holding economic and regional variables constant.