August 12, 2011

Restrictions Rise on Religious Beliefs

32%

Restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose between mid-2006 and mid-2009 in 23 of the world’s 198 countries, including several of the world’s most populous nations.

More than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third (32%) of the world’s total population of 6.9 billion – live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially between mid-2006 and mid-2009. Among the world’s 25 most populous countries – which account for about 75% of the world’s total population – restrictions on religion substantially increased in eight countries and did not substantially decrease in any. In China, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam, the increases were due primarily to rising levels of social hostilities involving religion. In Egypt and France, the increases were mainly the result of government restrictions. The rest of the 25 most populous countries, including the United States, did not experience substantial changes in either social hostilities or government-imposed restrictions. Read More