Understanding the effects of religious attendance on political participation among ethnic minorities of different religions

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  • Authors:
  • Maria Sobolewska
  • Fisher Stephen
  • Sobolewska Maria
  • Heath Anthony
  • Sanders David


In the US active church membership among ethnic and racial minorities has been linked to higher political participation. In Europe the influence of religious attendance on political mobilisation of ethnic minorities has so far been little explored, despite the heated public debate about the public role of religion and particularly Islam. We use the Ethnic Minority British Election Study 2010 to theorise the relationship between religious attendance and political participation of ethnic minorities in a European context and extend existing theories to non-Christian minority religions. Firstly, we find that despite a significantly different context, in which religion’s place in political life is more contentious, regular religious attendance increases political participation rates of ethnic minorities. Secondly, we test some possible explanatory mechanisms and introduce an important distinction between those mechanisms that mediate, and those that moderate the impact of religion. Thirdly, we find that British minority churches and places of worships vary in how willing and effective they are in politically motivating their worshippers. We conclude that this relates to the political salience of certain religions within the UK context.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-287
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2015

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