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Multiple measures of religious freedom and states’ regulation of religion are at work in sociology of religion. These scales apply one score to a country or to a subset of its policies. A uniform state score conceals the internal religious diversity and the heterogeneous experiences of religious freedom that can result. These, in turn, encourage ecological fallacies and mask the disparate impact that religious freedom for one’s own community and for other groups can have on individuals’ preferences and decisions. To demonstrate the value of measuring and studying religious freedom at the individual level, this study applies individual-level assessments of freedom and religiosity from Sunni-Muslim-majority countries to the religious market theory literature. It shows that restricting individuals’ religious freedom suppresses religious belief and behavior. Restrictions placed on other groups, however, can have independent positive and negative effects on religiosity. The study also raises concerns about the ability of current measures of religious freedom to measure individuals’ freedom, at least in Muslim-majority countries.



Publication Date



Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020


Islam, Religious freedom, Regulation, Religiosity, Measurement, Mosque, Prayer, Religious market theory


Islamic Studies | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Other Political Science | Political Theory | Religion Law


In Sarah Demmrich and Ulrich Riegel (Eds.), Religiosity in East and West: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges from Global and Local Perspectives.



Muslims’ Religious Freedom and Religiosity: Measurement and Impact



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