Acton Institute Powerblog

The State of Religious Hostility Around The World

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Pew Research does an admirable job tracking global changes in religious practices and restrictions. In their latest report, they note that religious hostility has declined slightly, but Jews are suffering more than they have in years.

[T]here has been a marked increase in the number of countries where Jews were harassed. In 2013, harassment of Jews, either by government or social groups, was found in 77 countries (39%) – a seven-year high. Jews are much more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups in society than by governments. In Europe, for example, Jews were harassed by individuals or social groups in 34 of the region’s 45 countries (76%).

Christians face the most restrictions, followed by Muslims.

European nations are facing increasingly violent attacks on both Jews and Muslims.

In France, three men attacked a teenager who was wearing a kippah in Vitry-Sur-Seine in March, threatening, “We will kill all of you Jews.”In Spain, vandals painted a large swastika on the walls of a bull ring in the city of Pinto in August, along with the words “Hitler was right.” In the town of Komarno in southern Slovakia, metal tiles embedded in the pavement honoring a local Jewish family killed in the Holocaust were destroyed in October when vandals poured tar over them. And in Norway, the newspaper Dagbladet published a controversial cartoon in May that appeared to be mocking the practice of circumcision.

In Germany, bloody pig heads were found at a site where the Ahmadiyya Muslim community planned to build Leipzig’s first mosque. In Ireland, several mosques and Muslim cultural centers received threatening letters. One of the letters stated, “Muslims have no right to be in Ireland. The Irish people are not happy with your presence in our country, which belongs to the true Irish people.”

Women in religious dress faced harassment, threats and violence far more often in Europe than in other parts of the world.

The countries with the highest scores in terms of government restrictions regarding religion are China, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Egypt.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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