Almost 70% of the globe’s population has limits on their expressions of their faith, according to a 72-page analysis based on 16 sources of information, including reports from the U.S. State Department and human rights groups as well as national constitutions (released by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life). Limits on expression of faith are found in roughly one-third of the world’s countries which evidence high or very high restrictions on religion as a result of either government rules or hostile acts by individuals and groups.
Religious minorities often feel the brunt of hostilities because they are perceived as a threat to the culture, politics or economy of a country’s majority population. “The highest overall levels of restrictions are found in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, where both the government and society at large impose numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices,” the report concluded. In some countries, such as China and Vietnam, government restrictions on religion were high, compared to moderate or low social hostilities. In contrast, nations such as Bangladesh and Nigeria had moderate level of government restrictions but ranked high in social hostilities. The findings were based on an investigation of 198 countries and territories, which represent 99.5% of the world’s population, from 2006 to 2008.
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