Northern Ireland’s Troubles conflict, like many complex conflicts through the world, has often been conceived as considerably motivated by religious differences. This paper demonstrates that religion was often integrated into an ethno-religious identity that fueled sectarian conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland during the Troubles period. Instead of being a religious-based conflict, the conflict derived from historical divides of power, land ownership, and civil and political rights in Ireland over several centuries. It relies on 12 interviews, six Protestants and six Catholics, to measure their use of religious references when referring to their religious other. The paper concludes that in the overwhelming majority of cases, both groups did not use religious references, supporting the hypothesis on the integrated nature of ethnicity and religion during the Troubles. It offers grounding for looking into the complex nature of sectarian and seemingly religious conflicts throughout the world, including cases in which religion acts as more of a veneer to deeply rooted identities and historical narratives.

This content is only available via PDF.