Are Muslims Distinctive?: A Look at the Evidence

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $41.19
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 60%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $41.19   
  • New (2) from $81.90   
  • Used (2) from $41.19   


How, if at all, do Muslims and non-Muslims differ? The question spurs spirited discussion among people the world over, in Muslim and non-Muslim lands alike, but we still lack answers based on sound empirical evidence. This book engages a set of the biggest issues using rigorous methods and data drawn from around the globe. It reveals that in some areas Muslims and non-Muslims differ less than is commonly imagined, and shows that Muslims are not unusually religious or inclined to favor the fusion of religious and political authority. Nor are Muslims especially prone to mass political violence. Yet in some areas Muslims and non-Muslims diverge: Gender inequality is more severe among Muslims, Muslims are unusually intolerant of homosexuality and other controversial behaviors, and democracy is rare in the Muslim world. Other areas of divergence bear the marks of a Muslim advantage: Violent crime and class-based inequities are less severe among Muslims than non-Muslims.

Committed to discovering social facts rather than either stoking prejudices or stroking political sensibilities, Are Muslims Distinctive? represents the first major scientific effort to assess how Muslims and non-Muslims differ--and do not differ--in the contemporary world. Its findings have vital implications for human welfare, interfaith understanding, and the foreign policies of the United States and other Western countries.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a profound achievement. Reading it has been an eye-opening experience to the point that I feel that I will never be able to approach my own work and scholarship in the same way. As far as I am concerned, this book will be mandatory reading for all of my students. This book deserves to be widely read and debated by every student of Islam, by every reader who believes that he or she knows what Islam and Muslims are about, and even by every person who might have the most casual interest in the contemporary Muslim realm."—Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor of Law, University of California-Los Angeles School of Law

"This book constitutes a major milestone in moving beyond stereotypes and anecdotal evidence, and identifying the ways in which Muslim-majority societies actually are distinctive from other types of societies, utilizing a huge base of empirical cross-national evidence. Many of the findings are surprising. The next step is the more difficult task of explaining why such differences exist."—Ronald Inglehart, Research Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan

"There's no book to my knowledge that does what Fish accomplishes here. Using a reliable dataset, sound scientific methods, and objective frameworks of analysis—Fish puts together an extremely important and valuable book on the political orientations and behaviors of Muslims across the globe. This book should have been written at least five years ago! It provides us with the most comprehensive and scientifically rigorous study of the political, social, and religious attitudes of Muslims in cross-national perspective."—Amaney A. Jamal, Assistant Professor of Politics, Princeton University

"A refreshingly brash book. Skilled in empirical analysis, Steven Fish has avoided the temptation to define questions narrowly. Instead he investigates whether Muslim politics are systematically different in a variety of broad areas, ranging from political violence to corruption. He does find that 'Muslim' is a politically relevant category in some areas but not in others. Fish insists on following the data wherever it leads him, informed by past scholarly work but not bound by its conventions. He seeks neither to challenge nor confirm popular prejudices. As a result of this sweeping, data-centered approach, both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences will find the book by turns comforting and unsettling."—Nathan J. Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199769209
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/26/2011
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

M. Steven Fish is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as a Senior Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Airlangga University in Indonesia and the European University at St. Petersburg in Russia. His books include The Handbook of National Legislatures (coauthored with Matthew Kroenig) and Democracy Derailed in Russia.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

How to Read the Tables in this Book
1. Introduction
2. Personal Religiosity and Religion in Politics
3. Social Capital and Personal Morality
4. Corruption and Crime
5. Large-Scale Political Violence and Terrorism
6. Sex-Based and Class Inequality
7. Democracy
8. Conclusion An Afterthought

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)