Global Survey by Pew: Religious Worship Faces Interference in Over 160 Countries, Harassment Soars

Global Survey by Pew: Religious Worship Faces Interference in Over 160 Countries, Harassment Soars

A recent report by Pew Research sheds light on the diverse patterns observed in government restriction scores and social hostilities across countries between 2020 and 2021.

Notably, while some nations witnessed increases or decreases in government restriction scores, a significant number experienced no changes at all during the specified period.

Religious Harassment Reaches Record High, While Interference with Worship Remains Prevalent

Pew’s survey underscores a concerning trend of heightened government harassment targeting religious groups, with incidents reported in 183 countries — the highest on record.

Moreover, over 160 countries saw government interference with religious worship, indicating persistent challenges faced by religious communities worldwide.

Defining Harassment and Interference: Pew’s Survey Parameters

According to Pew’s classification, “harassment” encompasses various forms of mistreatment directed at religious groups, including physical violence, derogatory remarks by government officials, and discriminatory laws or policies.

On the other hand, “interference” refers to actions that disrupt religious activities, deny access to places of worship, or impede burial rights, among other religious practices.

Global Trends: Decline in High-Level Government Restrictions, Yet Median Index Score Rises

While the total number of countries categorized with “high” or “very high” levels of government restrictions saw a slight decline from the previous year, the overall median index score for all countries increased.

This discrepancy suggests a nuanced picture of global trends, with some regions experiencing improvements in government restrictions despite an overall rise in the median index score.

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