An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group whose members are also unified by a common religious background. Ethnoreligious communities define their ethnic identity neither by ancestral heritage nor simply by religious affiliation but often through a combination of both. An ethnoreligious group has a shared history and a cultural tradition of its own. In many cases ethnoreligious groups are ethno-cultural groups with a traditional ethnic religion, in other cases ethnoreligious groups begin as communities united by a common faith which through endogamy develop cultural and ethnic ties. Some ethnoreligious groups' identities are reinforced by the experience of living within a larger community as a distinct minority.
Examples of ethnic groups defined by ancestral religions are the Armenians, the Sikh, the Druze, the Copts, the Yazidis, the Shabaks, the Zoroastrians, the Mandaeans, the Alawites, the Zazas, the Lurs, the Kaka'i, the Huguenots, the Jews (Hebrews), the Serer, the Mennonites, the Hutterites and the Amish people.
In an ethnoreligious group, particular emphasis is placed upon religious endogamy, and the concurrent discouragement of interfaith marriages or intercourse, as a means of preserving the stability and historical longevity of the community and culture. This adherence to religious endogamy can also, in some instances, be tied to ethnic nationalism if the ethnoreligious group possesses a historical base in a specific region.
"The Yazidism is a unique phenomenon, one of the most illustrative examples of ethno-religious identity, which is based on a religion exclusively specific for the Yazidis and called Sharfadin by them." - Victoria Arakelova (Yerevan State University)
As a legal concept
In Australian law, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) defines "race" to include "ethnic, ethno-religious or national origin". The reference to "ethno-religious" was added by the Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Act 1994 (NSW). John Hannaford, the NSW Attorney-General at the time, explained that "The effect of the latter amendment is to clarify that ethno-religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims and Sikhs, have access to the racial vilification and discrimination provisions of the Act. ...extensions of the Anti-Discrimination Act to ethno-religious groups will not extend to discrimination on the ground of religion."
The definition of "race" in Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas) likewise includes "ethnic, ethno-religious or national origin". However, unlike the NSW Act, it also prohibits discrimination on the grounds of "religious belief or affiliation" or "religious activity".
In the United Kingdom the landmark legal case Mandla v Dowell-Lee placed a legal definition on ethnic groups with religious ties, which in turn has paved the way for the definition of an ethnoreligious group. Both Jews and Sikhs were determined to be considered ethnoreligious groups under the Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Act 1994 (see above).
The Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Act 1994 made reference to Mandla v Dowell-Lee which defined ethnic groups as:
- a long shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups, and the memory of which it keeps alive;
- a cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with religious observance. In addition to those two essential characteristics the following characteristics are, in my opinion, relevant:
- either a common geographical origin, or descent from a small number of common ancestors;
- a common language, not necessarily peculiar to the group;
- a common literature peculiar to the group;
- a common religion different from that of neighbouring groups or from the general community surrounding it;
- being a minority or being an oppressed or dominant group within a larger community. For example, a conquered people (say, the inhabitants of England shortly after the Norman conquest) and their conquerors might both be ethnic groups
The term "ethnoreligious" has been applied by at least one author to each of the following groups:
- Acehnese
- Afar people
- Goan Catholics
- Hyderabadi Muslims
- Irish Catholics
- Crimean Karaites
- Crimean Tatars
- Kashmiri Brahmins
- Lemba
- Mangalorean Catholics
- Rûm[clarification needed]
- Sri Lankan Moors
- Syriac Orthodox
- Syrian Turkmens
- Ulster Protestants
- Ethno-Religious Communities Identity markers
- "Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 Section 4".
- Cunneen, Chris; David Fraser; Stephen Tomsen (1997). Faces of hate: hate crime in Australia. Hawkins Press. p. 223. ISBN 1-876067-05-5. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- "Anti-Discrimination (Amendment) Bill: Second Reading". Parliament of New South Wales. 2007-05-12. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- Gareth Griffith (February 2006). Sedition, Incitement and Vilification: Issues in the Current Debate (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service. p. 52. ISBN 0-7313-1792-0. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- "ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 3". Tasmanian Consolidated Acts. AustLII. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- "ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 16". Tasmanian Consolidated Acts. AustLII. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- policypaperdraft. Policy.hu. Retrieved on 2010-12-23.
- "Are Jews a Religious Group or an Ethnic Group?" (PDF). Institute for Curriculum Services. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Ethnic minorities in English law – Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved on 2010-12-23.
- Edgar Litt (1961). "Jewish Ethno-Religious Involvement and Political Liberalism". Social Forces. 39 (4): 328–332. doi:10.2307/2573430. JSTOR 2573430.
- Immigrant Sub-National Ethnicity: Bengali-Hindus and Punjabi-Sikhs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Allacademic.com. Retrieved on 2010-12-23.
- Ethno-Religious Strife Closes Bridge of Hope Center – Gospel for Asia. Gfa.org (2008-08-05). Retrieved on 2010-12-23.
- Desplat, Patrick; Østebø, Terje (2013-04-18). Muslim Ethiopia: The Christian Legacy, Identity Politics, and Islamic Reformism. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137322081.
- Thomas 2006
- Simon Harrison (2006). Fracturing Resemblances: Identity and Mimetic Conflict in Melanesia and the West. Berghahn Books. pp. 121–. ISBN 978-1-57181-680-1.
- Minahan 2002, p. 209
- Nothaft, C. Philipp E. (2014-05-23). Between Harmony and Discrimination: Negotiating Religious Identities within Majority-Minority Relationships in Bali and Lombok. BRILL. ISBN 9789004271494.
- Marty, Martin E. (1997). Religion, Ethnicity, and Self-Identity: Nations in Turmoil. University Press of New England. ISBN 0-87451-815-6.
[...] the three ethnoreligious groups that have played the roles of the protagonists in the bloody tragedy that has unfolded in the former Yugoslavia: the Christian Orthodox Serbs, the Roman Catholic Croats, and the Muslim Slavs of Bosnia.
- Minahan 2002, p. 467
- "Ethno-religious Identity and Conflict in Northern Nigeria". CETRI, Centre Tricontinental. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
- Zemon, Rubin. "The development of identities among the Muslim population in the Balkans in an era of globalization and Europeanization: Cases of Torbeshi, Gorani and Pomaci".
- Punjani, Shahid (August 2002). "How Ethno-Religious Identity Influences the Living Conditions of Hazara and Pashtun Refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan" (PDF). MIT.
- Minahan 2002, p. 744
- Janzen, Rod; Stanton, Max (2010-09-01). The Hutterites in North America. JHU Press. ISBN 9780801899256.
- Minahan 2002, p. 914
- Timothy P. Barnar (2004). Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across boundaries. Singapore: Singapore University press. p. 7. ISBN 9971-69-279-1.
- Frith, T. (September 1, 2000). "Ethno-Religious Identity and Urban Malays in Malaysia" (fee required). Asian Ethnicity. Routledge. 1 (2): 117–129. doi:10.1080/713611705. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Minahan 2002, p. 1194
- Thiessen, Janis Lee (2013-06-17). Manufacturing Mennonites: Work and Religion in Post-War Manitoba. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442660595.
- "Part I - Mormons as an Ethno-Religious Group - University Publishing Online". ebooks.cambridge.org. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
- Paul R. Ehrlich; Anne H. Ehrlich (30 June 2008). The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment. Island Press. p. 315. ISBN 978-1-59726-096-1.
- Ireton 2003
- Diedrich Westermann, Edwin William Smith, Cyril Daryll Forde, International African Institute, International Institute of African Languages and Cultures, Project Muse, JSTOR (Organization), "Africa: journal of the International African Institute, Volume 63", pp 86-96, 270-1, Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute, 1993
- Minahan 2002, p. 2030
- Sean Ireton (2003). "The Samaritans – A Jewish Sect in Israel: Strategies for Survival of an Ethno-religious Minority in the Twenty First Century". Anthrobase. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
- Barry, David M. (2012), "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION AND ETHNICITY: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE", Popular Perceptions of the Relationship Between Religious and Ethnic Identities: A Comparative Study of Ethnodoxy in Contemporary Russia and Beyond, Western Michigan University, pp. 6–19
- Levey, Geoffrey Brahm. "Toward a Theory of Disproportionate American Jewish Liberalism" (PDF).
- Fox, Jonathan (2002). "Defining Religion's Role in Society". Ethnoreligious Conflict in the Late Twentieth Century: A General Theory. Lexington Books. pp. 11–30. ISBN 978-0-7391-0418-7.
- Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-32384-4.
- Thomas, Martin (October 2006). "Crisis management in colonial states: Intelligence and counter-insurgency in Morocco and Syria after the First World War". Intelligence & National Security. 21 (5).
- J. Alan Winter (March 1996). "Symbolic Ethnicity or Religion Among Jews in the United States: A Test of Gansian Hypotheses". Review of Religious Research. 37 (3).
Media related to Ethnoreligious groups at Wikimedia Commons