A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Religion, Government Coalitions, and Terrorism


When ethnic minority parties are excluded from government coalitions, are group attributes such as religion related to the groups’ use of political violence? We argue that extremist factions within minority groups make use of divergence in religion to mobilize support for violent action when the group is excluded from government. Thus, we posit that while religion per se is not a source of violence, extremist elements of ethnic minorities, whose religion differs from the majority, may use religious divergence to mobilize group members to perpetrate terrorism. Specifically we test the hypotheses that extremist factions of an excluded group will be more likely to carry out terrorist attacks when the group's members belong to a different religion as well as when they belong to a different denomination or sect of a religion than the majority. To test these propositions, we use data on ethnic minority party inclusion in government coalitions, ethnic minority group religion, and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) by matching perpetrators with ethnic groups for all democracies, 1970–2004.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Satana, Nil S., and Molly Inman, Jóhanna Kristín Birnir. 2013. "Religion, Government Coalitions, and Terrorism." Terrorism and Political Violence (February): 29-52. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546553.2013.733250#.Ud2eUG…

START Author(s):