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Does adherence to Islam predict attitudes about 'suicide bombing' among American Muslims? This study examines the effects of religious and political factors on views of politically motivated violence (PMV). We draw from diverse scholarship, emphasizing arguments that are inspired by Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations perspective, as well as recent work in the sociology of Islam. Using a measure that gauges support for 'suicide bombing' from the 2007 Pew Survey of American Muslims, results from logistic regression models suggest that political views and religious factors have a minimal effect on Muslim American attitudes toward suicide bombing. Furthermore, we find that Qur’ānic authoritativeness (i.e., the view that the Qur’ān is the word of God and not written by men) is associated with lower odds of supporting this form of PMV. We discuss the implications of our findings for the often anecdotal and alarmist accounts that link Muslim religiosity to support for 'radical' extremism. We close with study limitations and avenues of future research.

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Journal article



Publication Date





242 - 260


sociology of Islam; American Muslims; terrorism; clash of civilizations; political Islam