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Social hostility to faith declines, however authorities restrictions rise

(RNS) — A worldwide evaluation of presidency restrictions towards faith finds that the variety of international locations with “excessive” or “very excessive” ranges of presidency restrictions rose barely in 2019.

The analysis from the Pew Analysis Middle, which included 198 international locations, additionally discovered that social hostility towards faith declined in 2019, the final 12 months for which information is accessible.

Most international locations with “excessive” or “very excessive” ranges of presidency restrictions in 2019 have been both within the Asia-Pacific area (25 of the 50 international locations in that area) or within the Center East-North Africa area (19 of 20 international locations).

Authorities restrictions in these international locations with “excessive” or “very excessive” ranges of official interference rose barely — to 29% of the 198 international locations within the examine, up from 28% in 2018.

Faith-related terrorism dropped in 2019. Solely 49 of the 198 international locations skilled religion-related terrorism, down from 64 international locations in 2018.

“Among the many causes for the decline within the examine’s terrorism measures is that ISIS subsequently misplaced management of a big swath of territory in Iraq and Syria,” the report mentioned.

However authorities harassment of spiritual teams — the place a authorities official singles out a non secular group with the intent of constructing non secular apply harder — occurred in almost all international locations. Widespread bodily harassment was much less frequent.

Fewer than half of the 198 international locations analyzed, (48%), reported at the least one incident of governments utilizing power in opposition to non secular teams. China, Myanmar, Sudan and Syria topped the listing of nations utilizing authorities power in opposition to non secular teams.


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Christians and Muslims, the world’s largest and most generally dispersed non secular teams, skilled extra harassment in additional international locations from governments and social teams in 2019, the examine discovered. Harassment of Christians was reported in 153 international locations, up from 145 international locations in 2018. Muslims have been harassed in 147 international locations in 2019, up from 139 international locations in 2018. Property injury was essentially the most prevalent kind of harassment.

Not one of the world’s 25 most populous international locations skilled giant modifications in authorities restrictions or social hostility scores.

Egypt, India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia stood out for having essentially the most authorities restrictions and social hostilities towards faith. Japan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Italy and the US had the least restrictions and hostilities.

The Pew evaluation relied on 19 broadly out there sources of data on authorities restrictions and social hostilities involving faith. These included U.S. authorities businesses, a number of impartial, nongovernmental organizations and a wide range of European and United Nations our bodies.

The evaluation was produced as a part of the Pew-Templeton World Spiritual Futures undertaking.


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