Sixty-five countries experienced large-scale religious hostilities in 2012, up from just 39 countries in 2007, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
Religious hostilities erupted in every major region of the world last year, except the Americas. The sharpest increases were in the Middle East and North Africa, a region that's still reeling from the 2010-11 uprisings called the Arab Spring, said the report.
While social hostilities toward different religious sects all over the world increased quite a bit from 2007, government restrictions on religion elevated only slightly.
Overall religious restrictions, whether due to government policies or social hostilities, are the highest they’ve been in the six years the Pew Research Center has reported on religious restrictions around the world.
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Two of the seven major religious groups in the world -- Muslims and Jews -- experienced an increase in the level of harassment or intimidation, according to the study.
The Pew Research Center’s study on religious restrictions rated 198 countries on two indexes -- the Government Restrictions Index and the Social Hostilities index.
The first measures religious restrictions caused by government policies, and the second measures restrictions caused by local social hostilities.
Here’s a map of those 198 countries, color-coded by their scores on the Government Restrictions Index. Click on any country for more info:
Here’s a map of those 198 countries, color-coded by their scores on the Social Hostilities Index. Click on any country for more info:
In some countries, religious restrictions are imposed largely because of social hostilities, and in others mostly because of government policies. Here’s an image that lets you compare the two maps above. The map with the dark background shows government restriction, and the map with the light background shows social hostilities.
In China, religious restrictions are mostly due to government policies, whereas in France and Greece, religious restrictions are mostly because of social hostilities.
In the United States, where overall restrictions are relatively low, government restrictions are higher than social hostilities.