Sectarianism is a political or cultural conflict between two groups often related to the form of government they live under. Prejudice, discrimination, or hatred can arise in these conflicts, depending on the political status quo and if one group holds more power within the government. Often, not all members of these groups are engaged in the conflict. But as tensions rise, political solutions require the participation of more people from either side within the country or polity where the conflict is happening. Common examples of these divisions are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement.

While sectarianism is often labelled as 'religious' and/ or 'political', the reality of a sectarian situation is usually much more complex. In its most basic form sectarianism has been defined as, 'the existence, within a locality, of two or more divided and actively competing communal identities, resulting in a strong sense of dualism which unremittingly transcends commonality, and is both culturally and physically manifest.'[1]