Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Eric Yang Liu
A religious minority is a minority of the population in a given society who profess a religion markedly different from the conventional religious culture of that society. For example, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims are counted as religious minorities in the United States, where Christianity has retained its dominant normative religious status. In the Islamic world, however, it is Christians with small population percentages that are among the ranks of religious minorities. In the social sciences (especially sociology), researchers have been increasingly concerned with social phenomena that center on religious minorities (i.e., cults/new religious movements). Not only does the religious minority group, as a social phenomenon, deserve serious research in its own right, but also there might exist significant associations between the religious minority identity and deviant behaviors, particularly when confounded with race and ethnicity, under certain social conditions. This has been particularly the case after 9/11. Since this period, Muslims ...