Worldwide, social hostilities, especially over religion, declined in 2013 after reaching a six-year peak in 2012, though a quarter of the world is still reeling under high levels of religious hostilities, said Pew Research Center in its latest annual study. India had the highest level of social hostilities involving religion in 2013, it noted.
The PEW study finds that the share of countries with very high levels of social hostilities involving religion dropped from 33% in 2012 to 27% in 2013, and the instances convered include vandalism of religious property and desecration of sacred texts to violent assaults resulting in deaths and injuries.
But countries with very high government restrictions on religion remained roughly same from 2012 to 2013 with a share in this category at 27% in 2013, compared with 29% in 2012. These restrictions include efforts to control religious groups and individuals with registration requirements to discriminatory policies and outright bans.
Worldwide, social hostilities involving religion declined. The study finds that restrictions on religion were high or very high in 39% of countries due to very high population like China and India as about 5.5 billion people (77% of the world’s population) were living in countries with a high or very high overall level of restrictions on religion in 2013, up from 76% in 2012 and 68% as of 2007.
Among the world’s 25 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.
Among these populous countries, China had the highest level of government restrictions in 2013, and India had the highest level of social hostilities involving religion.
As in previous years, Christians and Muslims – who together make up more than half of 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%).
Harassment of Jews Reaches Seven-Year HighIn recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of countries where Jews were harassed. In 2013, harassment of Jews, either by government or social groups, was found in 77 countries (39%) – a seven-year high.
Jews are much more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups in society than by governments. In Europe, for example, Jews were harassed by individuals or social groups in 34 of the region’s 45 countries (76%). In 2013, harassment of Jews, either by government or social groups, was found in 77 countries (39%) a seven-year high.