Muslims’ emotions toward Americans predict support for Hezbollah and Al Qaeda for threat-specific reasons

Shana Levin*, Nour Kteily, Felicia Pratto, Jim Sidanius, Miriam Matthews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using a random sample of 243 Muslims in Lebanon and Syria, we examined whether support for Hezbollah or for Al Qaeda is predicted by functionally-relevant emotional responses to specific threats perceived to be posed by Americans. In line with the sociofunctional approach, perceived resource domination threat from Americans elicited anger, and perceived value contamination threat elicited disgust/contempt toward Americans. Importantly, these intergroup emotions in turn differentially predicted support for Hezbollah and Al Qaeda through desires for the organizations to accomplish different goals to address the threat perceptions. Specifically, anger toward Americans predicted support for Hezbollah through desires for the organization to restore threatened symbolic resources by bringing pride and respect to Arabs. In contrast, disgust/contempt toward Americans predicted support for Al Qaeda through desires for the organization to protect threatened ingroup values by de-contaminating Islam from Western cultural influence. Theoretical explanations and implications for addressing and mitigating hostilities between the groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-177
Number of pages16
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Al Qaeda
  • Hezbollah
  • Intergroup emotions
  • Intergroup threat
  • Islamist organizations
  • Sociofunctional approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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