- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Sen. Claire McCaskill to tackle sex assault at college next
- Judge’s order preserves NSA surveillance records
- Refurbished Pollock masterpiece goes on display
- Iditarod becomes mad dash for Nome
- ‘Burger King baby’ now seeks birth mom on Facebook
- Study: 2 percent of Americans have new hips, knees
- Friend: Pistorius shot gun out car without warning
- States wrestle with developing, restricting drones
- Japan marks 3rd anniversary of tsunami disasters
Global religious intolerance up — even in U.S.
Restrictions include attire, facilities, says an annual study by Pew Forum
The recent spasm of religious violence in the Middle East is part of a larger pattern: A major survey released Thursday finds official and unofficial hostility toward religious freedom rising in every corner of the world — including in the U.S., which is no longer ranked among world’s most tolerant nations.
The annual study, compiled by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, concluded that three-fourths of the world’s population live in countries that impose significant political and social restrictions on religion, with the United States being moved out of the list of countries with the best records on religious tolerance.
“During the latest year studied, the U.S. moved from the low category of government restrictions on religion to the moderate category for the first time,” Pew said in a news release outlining key findings of the report.
The U.S. saw a rise for the first time, particularly at the state and local level, where incidents restricting religious groups from practicing their faith were up.
Among those problems cited in the U.S. as keeping people from practicing their religion, were restrictions on the wearing of religious attire or symbols, obtaining zoning or building permits for new religious school and houses of worship, a climate of increasing “social hostilities” including a rise in “religion-related terrorist attacks” and an increase in workplace discrimination complaints based on religion.
Among major religions studied, Christians, Jews and Buddhists saw four-year highs in the number of countries where harassment by government or by individuals or groups rose. By mid-2010, Christians in 111 countries saw increases in social or government harassment, while Jews in 68 countries faced similar problems.
The study marks the third time that the Pew Forum has sought to measure religious restrictions. It uses two indexes to score 197 countries and territories — containing nearly all the world population — and charts “restrictions due to government actions as well as acts of violence and intimidation by private individuals, organizations and social groups.”
Absent from the report is data on North Korea, whose government is described by Pew as “the most repressive in the world including toward religion.” Because of the lack of access to the communist nation, “sources are unable to provide the kind of specific, timely information that formed the basis of this analysis,” Pew researchers said.
The most recent Pew study, available at www.pewforum.org, describes a deteriorating tolerance for the practice of religion around the world. As of mid-2010 and before the “Arab Spring,” the report found religious tensions increasing in all five top regions of the world with 75 percent of the global population experiencing the highest government restrictions and social hostilities.
The share of countries registering “high” or “very high” on religious restrictions was up from 31 percent in mid-2000 to 37 percent by mid-2010, according to the study, a part of the Pew Templeton Global Religious Futures project.
Among those regions under assault, Europe, the Middle East-North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa saw median levels of both social hostilities and government restrictions rise. Social hostilities were up in the Asia-Pacific region, while government restrictions rose in the Americas.
Among the world’s 25 most-populous countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Myanmar (Burma), Iran, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nigeria were cited as the most restrictive on religion based on government restrictions and social hostilities through mid-2010.
The United States, along with Brazil, Japan, Italy, and Congo registered as the most-populous nations with the fewest restrictions and hostilities, Pew researchers said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Right-to-work proponents demand justice for violence
- Unions vow to fight Michigan right-to-work law
- Indiana's move pushed Michigan on right-to-work
- Michigan’s governor sides with right to work
- Dems look to Obama to punish Michigan over labor vote
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CPAC 2014: Despite Ben Carson's speech, gay marriage mostly took a back seat at CPAC
- EDITORIAL: Senate Democrats pointless all-night global warming talkathon
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Florida lawmakers move to wipe corrupt 'Boss Hogg' town from map
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again