Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2013 Volume 9 :: Article 8
2013 Volume 9, Article 8
The Effects of State-Established Religion on Religious Freedom for Minorities

Author: Fatima Z. Rahman (Lake Forest College)

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State policy on religious freedom for minorities varies substantially across nations. Assuming a uniform set of interests for actors regardless of the religious tradition, culture, or type of government they are associated with, I present a path model to explain this variation and test it using cross-national data from a sample of 175 states. The main finding is that the state’s interference in the religious market, through the establishment and subsidizing of a state religion, initiates a path by which the state religion is able to monopolize the religious market and subsequently acquire political influence. In accordance with the interest of maintaining and maximizing its share of the religious market, the state religion uses its political influence to curb prospective competition by restricting the freedom of minority denominations. Further, the prevalence of this process in Muslim majority states likely explains the above-average levels of restrictions on the religious freedom of minorities in the Muslim world.

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