33% of world experiences increased restrictions on religion

Restrictions on religion are on the rise according to the new Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study.

Increased restraints on religious activity were now more noticeable in 23 countries, however restrictions were released in another 12 countries, the study showed.

The study also shows

  • intolerant countries growing more hostile to religious freedom, and tolerant ones growing more accommodating
  • more adverse government policies in countries such as France, Egypt, Algeria, Uganda
  • social hostility grew, in places like China, Nigeria, and Russia
  • among those nations where government restrictions declined, were: Greece, Togo, Nicaragua, Republic of Macedonia and Guinea-Bissau
  • it is scarcest in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Europe, however, has the largest proportion of countries where social hostilities related to religion rose
  • more than other groups, Muslims and Christians suffered harassment based on their religion
  • smaller religious groups that suffered disproportionately, the study found, included Jews
  • representing less than one percent of the world’s people, Jews were harassed in 75 countries
  • North Korea, one of the most repressive regimes, could not be included for lack of reliable data
  • overall, about 70 percent of the world lives in nations with significant religious repression.

“There seems to be somewhat of a polarization,” particularly in countries with constitutional prohibitions against blasphemy, said Brian Grim, the primary researcher of the report. “When you have one set of restrictions in place then it’s easier to add on.”

The report, took data from 198 countries and territories from 2006 through 2009. About 2.2 billion people live in nations where restrictions on religion have substantially increased the report showed.



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