Sabri Ciftci, F. Michael Wuthrich, and Ammar Shamaileh

Feb 27, 2023

Beyond Piety and Politics

Religion, Social Relations, and Public Preferences in the Middle East and North Africa

Indiana University Press 2022

How do ordinary men and women in Muslim-majority societies create religion-informed views of political topics such as democracy and economics? Beyond Piety and Politics: Religion, Social Relations, and Public Preferences in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana UP, 2022) provides a groundbreaking approach to understanding the depth and variety of political attitudes held by people who consider themselves to be pious Muslims. Using survey data on religious preferences and behavior, the authors argue for the relevance and importance of four outlook categories—religious individualist, social communitarian, religious communitarian, and post-Islamist—and use these to explore complex and nuanced attitudes of devout Muslims toward issues like democracy and economic distribution. They also reveal how intrafaith variation in political attitudes is not due simply to doctrinal differences but is also a product of the social aspects of religious association operating within political contexts.

Sabri Ciftci is a professor of political science and Michael W. Suleiman Chair at Kansas State University. His research interests include Islam and democracy, Middle East, and Turkish foreign policy. Ciftci is the author of Islam, Justice, and Democracy (2021, Temple University Press) and co-author of Beyond Piety and Politics (2022, Indiana University Press). He has also widely published in journals like Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, Democratization, and Foreign Policy Analysis among others. When not researching or teaching, Ciftci likes to spend time with his family, hike, or draw Islamic calligraphy.

Michael Wuthrich is an associate professor of political science and the associate director of the Center for Global and International Studies at the University of Kansas. In addition to co-authorship of Beyond Piety and Politics, he is the author of National Elections in Turkey: People Politics and the Party System and numerous journal articles. His research explores campaigns and elections in Turkey, institutions and politics in Iran, and populism, religion, and gender in politics comparatively in MENA and beyond.

Ammar Shamaileh is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. His research interests primarily reside at the intersection of comparative non-democratic politics and political behavior. His current research focuses on autocratic ruling networks. He is the author of the book Trust and Terror and the coauthor of Beyond Piety and Politics. His work has appeared in Comparative Politics, International Interactions, Political Research Quarterly and Omran, among other journals.

Lamis Abdelaaty is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at or tweet to @LAbdelaaty.

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Lamis Abdelaaty

Dr. Lamis Abdelaaty is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Her book, Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Email her at
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