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Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering

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  • Clingingsmith, David

    (Case Western Reserve U)

  • Khwaja, Asim Ijaz

    (Harvard U)

  • Kremer, Michael

Abstract

We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-022.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-022

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  1. David Clingingsmith & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Michael Kremer, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1133-1170, August.
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