Many Countries Favor Specific Religions, Officially or Unofficially
Islam is the most common state religion, but many governments give privileges to Christianity.
Global Restrictions on Religion Rise Modestly in 2015, Reversing Downward Trend
Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015 for the first time in three years. Government harassment and use of force surged in Europe, as did social hostilities against Muslims.
Trends in Global Restrictions on Religion
Restrictions on Women’s Religious Attire
Many countries have laws that ban or limit women from wearing religious attire in public places. By comparison, far fewer countries require women to wear particular types of attire for religious reasons.
Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities
Social hostilities toward religion declined in 2013, while government restrictions on religious beliefs and practices remained level. Harassment of Jews, however, reached a seven-year high.
Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High
A third of the 198 countries studied had a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion in 2012. About three-in-ten countries had a high or very high level of government restrictions on religion, roughly the same as in 2011.
Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion
Pew Research’s fourth major report on global restrictions on religion finds that the share of countries with high or very high restrictions on religion rose from 37% in 2010 to 40% in 2011. The Middle East and North Africa continued to have the highest levels of restrictions in the year when much of the Arab Spring uprisings occurred, with social hostilities involving religion increasing markedly and government restrictions remaining high.
Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion
Between mid-2009 and mid-2010, religious restrictions rose not only in countries that began the year with high or very high restrictions, such as Indonesia and Nigeria, but also in many countries that began with low or moderate restrictions, such as Switzerland and the United States. The report looks at restrictions due to government actions as well as acts of violence and intimidation by private individuals, organizations and social groups.
Rising Restrictions on Religion – One-third of the world’s population experiences an increase
Restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose in 23 of the world’s 198 countries (12%), decreased in 12 countries (6%) and remained essentially unchanged in 163 countries (82%) between mid-2006 and mid-2009, a new Pew Forum report shows. More than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third of the world’s population – live in the 23 countries with increasing government restrictions or social hostilities involving religion.