August 9, 2011

Rising Restrictions on Religion - One-third of the world’s population experiences an increase

Government Restrictions Index

The following table shows all 198 countries and territories in descending order of their scores on the Pew Forum’s index of social hostilities involving religion as of mid-2009. The Pew Forum has not attached numerical rankings to the countries because there are numerous tie scores and the differences between the scores of countries that are close to each other on this table are not necessarily meaningful. This is particularly the case at the low end of the scale: The range of scores among the 40 countries in the Very High (top 5%) and high (next 15%) categories is greater than the range of scores among the 115 countries in the Low (bottom 60%) category.


Very High
top 5% of scores

Scores from 7.2 to 8.3
Egypt China Eritrea
Iran Maldives Indonesia
Saudi Arabia Malaysia
Uzbekistan Burma (Myanmar)

High
Next 15% of scores

Scores from 4.7 to 7.1
Pakistan Yemen Azerbaijan
Algeria Afghanistan Iraq
Tajikistan Brunei Bangladesh
Turkmenistan Laos Western Sahara
Russia Sudan Bulgaria
Syria Tunisia Oman
Libya Kuwait Moldova
Belarus Somalia* Bhutan
Turkey Morocco Qatar
Mauritania India Israel
Vietnam Jordan

Moderate
Next 20% of scores

Scores from 2.5 to 4.6
Kazakhstan Comoros Tanzania
Kyrgyzstan Mexico Georgia
Singapore Chad Tuvalu
Armenia Thailand United Kingdom
France Belgium Slovakia
United Arab Emirates Zimbabwe Venezuela
Greece Austria Cambodia
Cuba Uganda Denmark
Serbia Palestinian territories** Monaco
Bahrain Kenya Costa Rica
Nigeria Central African Republic Lebanon
Romania Angola
Sri Lanka Ethiopia
Nepal Germany

Low
Bottom 60% of scores

Scores from 0.0 to 2.4
Rwanda Chile Netherlands
Mongolia South Korea Haiti
Ukraine Seychelles Cameroon
Lithuania Ireland Luxembourg
Kazakhstan Nepal Ethiopia
Latvia Malta Andorra
Italy Mauritius Dominican Republic
Hong Kong Montenegro Botswana
Madagascar Antigua and Barbuda Mali
Ivory Coast Djibouti Samoa
Argentina Switzerland Ghana
Iceland Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands
Northern Cyprus Finland Fiji
Croatia Republic of Macedonia Hungary
Colombia Nauru Taiwan
Cyprus Gambia Australia
Kosovo Nicaragua Lesotho
Niger Poland Republic of Congo
Macau Slovenia St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Bosnia-Herzegovina Ecuador Guyana
Honduras Jamaica Liberia
Equatorial Guinea Philippines Portugal
Peru Brazil St. Kitts and Nevis
Czech Republic South Africa Grenada
Swaziland Dominica Palau
Tonga Togo Suriname
Sweden Mozambique Suriname
Bahamas Estonia New Zealand
United States St. Lucia Japan
Zambia Vanuatu Benin
Spain Trinidad and Tobago Guinea Bissau
Canada Senegal Cape Verde
Paraguay Panama Marshall Islands
Norway Guatemala Namibia
Liechtenstein Belize Federated States of Micronesia
Congo Burkina Faso Timor-Leste
Guinea Kiribati Burundi
Gabon Bolivia Sao Tome and Principe
El Salvador Barbados San Marino
Albania Malawi Sierra Leone

Footnotes:

Denotes a substantial increase from mid-2006 to mid-2009.

Denotes a substantial decrease from mid-2006 to mid-2009.

NOTE: The number of countries in each percentile range may be slightly more or less than the actual percentage because of tie scores. Substantial increase or decrease is defined as a change of at least 1.5 standard deviations above or below the mean amount of change among all 198 countries on each index. The change also had to be in the same direction over the periods studied. (See Methodology for more details.)

North Korea: The sources clearly indicate that the government of North Korea is among the most repressive in the world with respect to religion as well as other civil liberties. But because North Korean society is effectively closed to outsiders, the sources are unable to provide the kind of specific and timely information that the Pew Forum coded in this quantitative study. Therefore, the report does not include a score for North Korea on either index.

* Somalia: The level of government restrictions in Somalia is difficult to assess due to the lack of a functioning national government; the social hostilities index may be a more reliable indicator of the situation in Somalia.

** Palestinian Territories: The Palestinian territories’ score on government restrictions reflects the policies of the Palestinian Authority government (headed by Mahmoud Abbas and headquartered in the West Bank) rather than the actions of Hamas in Gaza (which is not recognized by most of the sources for this report as a legitimate government).