Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Religious restrictions increasing worldwide

Nearly a third of the world’s total population live in countries where government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially between mid-2006 and mid-2009, reports the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Only about 1 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries where government restrictions or social hostilities declined.
Other major findings include:
  • The Middle East-North Africa region had the largest proportion of countries in which government restrictions on religion increased — with nearly a third of the region’s countries imposing greater restrictions. Egypt, in particular, ranked very high on both government restrictions and social hostilities involving religion.
  • Europe had the largest proportion of countries in which social hostilities related to religion were on the rise from mid-2006 to mid-2009. Social hostilities involving religion have also been rising in Asia, particularly in China, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Restrictions on religion are particularly common in the 59 countries that prohibit blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion. While such laws are sometimes promoted as a way to protect religion, in practice they often serve to punish religious minorities whose beliefs are deemed unorthodox or heretical.
For the full report, click here.

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