According to a recent Pew Forum, nearly seventy percent of the world’s population live in countries with religious restrictions. According to the study, about one-third of the world’s nations can be classified as having a high level of restriction on religions, but these nations make up some of the globe’s most populated countries. Religious minorities typically find themselves being among the most restricted.
The study classified restrictions according to two categories: those imposed by government agencies—acts, laws, and policies—on the one hand, and those imposed by private individuals, organizations, and cultural groups on the other. Some countries, such as China, were classified as highly restrictive according to the first category (government restrictions) but as displaying very little cultural restriction. On the other end of the spectrum, Nigeria and Bangladesh exhibit few governmental restrictions but frequent displays of hostility toward religions by private groups. Regionally, the Middle East and North Africa are the most restrictive in both categories whereas the Americas and countries such as Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom are least restrictive. European countries such as France and Germany were classified as moderately restrictive, overall, at least in part for regulations to curb cult activity. See the study’s results here.
Secrecy and New Religious Movements: Concealment, Surveillance, and Privacy in a New Age of Information
By Hugh B. Urban , Ohio State University
(Vol. 2, November 2007)
Masowe Migration: A Quest for Liberation in the African Diaspora
By Isabel Mukonyora , Western Kentucky University
(Vol. 3, February 2008)