The report, by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, looked at statistics and government data spanning from 2006 to 2009, and uses such criteria as government crackdowns on religion and social hostility, including religious-motivated bias, beatings and murder, to determine which countries were the least tolerant to religion.
Christians in 130 countries — 66 percent of the world’s countries — experienced government laws and social harassment. Muslims, according to the Pew report, faced government and social harassment in slightly fewer countries, with incidents reported in 117 countries. Many of those countries overlap with incidents against both religions, suggesting ongoing strife between the two religions, according to the report.
The world’s most geographically concentrated religious groups – Hindus and Buddhists – also experienced discrimination in 27 and 16 countries, respectively.
Religious intolerance is highest in the Middle East and Europe. Although the Middle East is predominantly Muslim, the report said that Muslims were the most harassed religious group, with Christians and Jews also showing a heavy level of harassment.
Egypt showed the biggest increase in both government crackdowns and social hostilities, with the report mentioning that this rise was independent of the recent revolution the country experienced this year. Strife between Muslims and Coptic Christians is an ongoing problem in Egypt, as well as the ability to express religion freely.
France came in second for the biggest rise in harassment, and took criticism for implementing anti-burqa laws last year. Bias against Muslims has also been on the rise there.
“In general, most of the countries that had substantial increases in government restrictions or social hostilities involving religion already had high or very high levels of restrictions or hostilities,” the report said. – Fox News
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
19 If you were of the world, the world would love [you as] its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. 20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master. ‘ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me.