Friday, September 2, 2011

Lucia Religious freedom in the world is decreasing

Pew Forum just released the results on their worldwide survey on religious freedom and it's not looking good. In just three short years since the last survey, restrictions on religious freedom have increased, the worst offender being that country that apparently heralded the "Arab Spring" - Egypt.

It must be noted that the countries with the worst indicators include those with the largest Muslim populations: Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh . . .

Funny that, but Western countries such as Britain and France are represented as well.

In summary, one out of four of the countries that in 2006 were already showing severe restrictions on religious freedom have further worsened their standards in the following years.

But if one looks not at the individual countries, but at the number of inhabitants, the results of the survey are even more stunning: fully 59 percent of the world's population today lives with "high" or "very high" levels of restrictions on religious freedom.

The religion that suffers most from this situation is Christianity. But Muslims are also victims of it. In Nigeria, the social conflict is with Christians, but elsewhere Muslims are subject to legal restrictions and violence, above all on the part of fellow Muslims. In Iraq, for example, there are many more victims from Islamist attacks on mosques than on churches.

Packed with data, the twofold survey by the Pew Forum – the authoritative research center on religion and public life based in Washington – is worth reading in full.

Religious freedom is a barometer of all other freedoms. Typically when a State or people clamps down on freedom, it's religion that takes the hit first. The fact that religious freedom in the world is decreasing is not a good sign. Even if you are an atheist, you should be worried.

Related link: Religious Freedom. The Barometer Takes a Turn for the Worse ~ Chiesa

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