Sociology and Anthropology

More than the Umma: An Exploratory Study of Muslim Identities

Many scholars have ascribed to Islam a transnational capacity other religions lack. That is to say that Muslims are more likely than non-Muslims to identify themselves in religious terms than as members of particular national political communities. As such, it may be hypothesized that since Muslims are more likely to claim a transnational, religious identity than non-Muslims, they should consistently show weaker claims of national, regional, and municipal identity, be less willing to fight for their country, and show lower levels of national pride than non-Muslims, regardless of country, region, and majority or minority status.

More Than the Ummah: Religious and National Identity in the Muslim World

Many scholars argue that Muslims are more likely to identify themselves in religious terms than as members of particular national political communities. As such, since they are more likely to claim a transnational, religious identity, they should consistently show weaker claims of national, regional, and municipal identity; be less willing to fight for their country; and show lower levels of national pride, regardless of country, region, and majority or minority status. Using data from the 1995-1997 World Values Survey from ten countries, which were supplemented by data from Zogby International and the Pew Research Center, I found that while Muslims tend to be very religious, they do not embrace transnationalism or lack strong national feelings to an exceptional degree when compared with non-Muslims. In fact, many are proud of their country and willing to fight for it. O Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). (Qur’an 49:13)1

 

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