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Religious Tolerance Ebbing around the World, Report Finds

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Archived_Member16, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Jan 7, 2005
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    August 9, 2011

    Religious tolerance ebbing around world, report finds

    By Steven Edwards, Postmedia News - August 9, 2011 6:04 PM

    UNITED NATIONS — Religious tolerance is in retreat in the world, where one-third of people face increasing harassment when seeking to practise their faith, a new study reveals.

    Only for one per cent of the world's population was there an increase in religious freedom as measured by declines in government restrictions or social hostilities that target particular religious groups, according to Rising Restrictions on Religion by the Pew Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life.

    The three-year study through to mid-2009 found that restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose in 23 of the world's 198 countries and fell in 12. Restrictions were essentially unchanged in the others.

    "Because several countries with increasing restrictions on religion are very populous, however, the increases affect a much larger share of people than of states," the report says, citing in particular China for a rise in government restrictions.

    "In nearly three-quarters of all countries, private citizens or groups committed crimes, malicious acts or violence motivated by religious hatred or bias."

    The predominantly Islamic Middle East and North Africa regions are the world's most religiously intolerant, with anti-blasphemy laws key to ensuring even Muslims — as well as Christians and the limited Jewish population outside Israel — are frequently harassed, the report shows.

    But intolerance has also been on the rise in Europe, home to five of the 10 countries that had a "substantial" increase in social hostilities: Bulgaria, Denmark, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

    "The kinds of social hostilities that recently erupted in violence in Norway have been rising across Europe," the report says, referring to the murderous attacks last month by Anders Breivik, who police believe was in part motivated by Islamophobic ideology.

    Among the world's 25 most populous countries — which account for about 75 per cent of the global population — restrictions on religion substantially increased in eight countries and did not substantially decrease in any, the report says.

    "In China, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam, the increases were due primarily to rising levels of social hostilities involving religion," it says.

    "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.

    Greece was the most populous of countries where government restrictions declined. It was followed by Togo, Nicaragua and the Republic of Macedonia.

    Other countries that registered high or rising government or social harassment of their populations on religious grounds included India, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

    The report shows that Christians face harassment in the greatest number of countries: 130; followed by Muslims: 117.

    But in proportion to their numbers, some smaller religious groups faced especially widespread harassment. While Jews make up less than one per cent of the world's population, government or social harassment of Jewish people was reported in 75 countries. Harassment occurred in 84 countries involving members of other world religions — including Sikhs, ancient faiths such as Zoroastrianism, newer faith groups such as Baha'is and Rastafarians, and localized groups that practise tribal or folk religions.



    © Copyright (c) Postmedia News

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  3. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Dec 21, 2010
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    Souljyot ji I am puzzled by the following in the article you posted,

    Sat Sri Akal.
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    admin note: Nearly always the articles posted by forum member Soul_jyot ji are intended to provoke discussion and are not necessarily a reflection of his personal point of view.
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