Katayoun Mirfendereski Kishi is a research associate at Pew Research Center. She oversees the Center’s annual study on global restrictions on religion. Her previous work has included research on topics such as identity politics and religion, international conflict, survey research and food security. Before joining Pew Research Center, Kishi held positions at the United States Institute of Peace and the office of the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. She earned a doctorate in government and politics, with a concentration in comparative politics and quantitative methodology, from the University of Maryland.
Key findings on the global rise in religious restrictions
Restrictions on religion continued to climb in 2016 around the world, the second year in a row of increases.
Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level
The number of assaults against Muslims in the United States rose significantly between 2015 and 2016, easily surpassing the modern peak reached in 2001.
Many Central and Eastern Europeans see link between religion and national identity
In 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, a median of 66% say being a member of the country’s official or preferred faith is important to belong to the nationality.
Christians faced widespread harassment in 2015, but mostly in Christian-majority countries
Christians were harassed by governments or social groups in a total of 128 countries in 2015 – more countries than any other religious group.
Muslims, Jews faced social hostilities in seven-in-ten European countries in 2015
Europe in 2015 saw a rise in social hostilities involving religion, particularly against the continent’s Muslims.
Government harassment, use of force against religious groups increased sharply in Europe in 2015
Thirty-eight European governments harassed religious groups in limited or widespread ways in 2015, while 24 used some type of force against religious groups.
Most refugees who enter the U.S. as religious minorities are Christians
A little over a third of the refugees admitted into the U.S. in fiscal 2016 were religious minorities in their home countries. Of those, 61% were Christians and 22% were Muslims.
Anti-Muslim assaults reach 9/11-era levels, FBI data show
There were 91 reported aggravated or simple assaults motivated by anti-Muslim bias in 2015, just two shy of the 93 reported in 2001.
6 facts about religious hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa
In 2014, the median level of religious hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa reached a level four times that of the global median.
5 key findings about global restrictions on religion
Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities related to religion decreased somewhat between 2013 and 2014, the second consecutive year of such declines.