The Ambiguities of Cohabitation: Religious Attitudes between Tolerance and Fundamentalism in Chad
Chad belongs to the few countries of the Sahel with a substantial Christian minority in a predominantly Muslim society. It is situated next to states affected by Islamist violence or terrorism and is also touched by terrorist attacks. However, despite a devastating civil war after independence between Muslim and respectively Christian dominated ethnic groups, thus far Chadians have demonstrated a positive attitude toward religious cohabitation. Survey data from a unique dataset of five Chadian cities confirm the population’s willingness to accept peaceful coexistence as well as a high level of religiosity. However, the data reveal Islamist fundamentalist attitudes among wealthier respondents who received either an Islamic-based primary education or have a first university degree. This combination is an unusual result. These respondents also show the highest support for authoritarian structures and the Chadian leadership. This leads to the conclusion that Islamist fundamentalism is most prominent among those persons who benefit most from the present authoritarian regime.