Beyond Muslim identity: Opinion-based groups in the Gezi Park protest
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Media depicted Turkish Gezi Park protests as a clash between secularists and Islamists within a majority-Muslim country. Extending a social identity approach to protests this study aims (a) to distinguish the protest participants in terms of their opinion-based group memberships (b) to investigate how their religious identification and their group membership were associated with democratic attitudes. Six hundred and fifty highly educated urban young adult participants were surveyed during the protest. Latent class analysis of participants' political concerns and online and offline actions yielded four distinct opinion-based groups labeled liberals secularists moderates and conservatives. Looking at the intersection of the participants' group identities with their Muslim identification we observed that the higher conservatives' and moderates' religious identification the less they endorsed democratic attitudes whereas religious identification made little or no difference in liberals' and secularists' democratic attitudes. Our findings of distinct groups among protest participants in a majority-Muslim country challenge an essentialist understanding of religion as a homogeneous social identity.