The question of the role of Islam in the public space has become a new pivotal point in political disputes about civil liberties in Western Europe. This debate challenges the scholarly literature on tolerance by highlighting that our understanding of the situational factors shaping tolerance judgments remains limited. This study therefore investigates how the salience of the signaling of religious group membership influences religious tolerance. Based on a unique question-wording experiment embedded in an approximately nationally representative survey, I demonstrate that conspicuous manifestations of religious outgroup membership spark stronger intolerance than subtle manifestations and that anxiety mediates the effect of conspicuous manifestations of religious outgroup membership. Finally, I demonstrate that the effect of the salience of religious outgroup membership is strongest among those who are highly opposed to secularism. I conclude by discussing how these findings constitute an important extension of the extant work on tolerance and feed back into the discussion regarding the role of religion in the public space.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2011
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