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Pew Research Study
 

Christianity tops persecution list

Christianity is the most persecuted religion: in 102 of the 198 countries included in a Pew Research study, Christians face restrictions and hostility because of their faith.

FUENTES Pew Research AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus UNITED STATES 05 DE MARZO DE 2015 09:00 h
Christians in Indonesia have their meetings in the street, after the closing of their church by the government. / Asian news

A quarter of the world’s countries are still guilty of high levels of religious hostility within their borders, according to the Pew Research Centre’s latest annual study on global restrictions on religion.



The report, which covers almost all the countries of the world, uses two different indices to measure global restrictions on religion:




  • The Government Restrictions Index that measures government laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices.

  • The Social Hostilities Index which measures acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organisations or groups in society.



While the second index has dropped in comparison with last year’s data, the share of countries with high or very high government restrictions on religion stayed roughly the same. The share of countries in this category was 27% in 2013, compared with 29% in 2012.



 



Government Restrictions around the world. / Pew Research



 



Among the world’s most populous countries, the highest overall levels of restrictions were found in Burma (Myanmar), Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia, where both the government and society at large impose numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices.



The study found that 77% of the world’s population was living in countries with a high or very high overall level of restrictions on religion in 2013.



 



ANTI SEMITISM GROWTH IN EUROPE



As in previous years, Christians and Muslims – who together make up more than half the global population – faced harassment in the largest number of countries. Christians were harassed, either by government or social groups, in 102 of the 198 countries included in the study (52%), while Muslims were harassed in 99 countries (50%).



 



Government Restrictions by region / Pew Research



 



There has also been a marked increase in recent years in the number of countries where Jews are harassed. In Europe, for example, Jews are harassed by individuals or social groups in 34 of the region’s 45 countries.



 



MIDDLE EAST, A TROUBLE SPOT



The restrictions and hostilities that tend to target religious minorities do not generally exist in isolation. In fact, as the survey states: “restrictions and hostilities targeting religious minorities often correspond with higher levels of government restrictions and social hostilities”.



The report shows data from 2013, when Daesh, the self-proclaimed Islamic State, did not yet exist. However, the study warns that the region is “the place with the highest restrictions for the practice of any religion” (except Islam) in the world.


 

 


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