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ICC Note: Pew Research Center has released new figures on religious persecution, noting that religious hostility, including government restrictions on religion, is decreasing worldwide. This serves as the second year in a row that religious restrictions have decreased globally. Although religious restrictions are slowly dropping, there was an increase in religiously motivated terrorism.

By Ruth Gledhill

06/24/2016 United States (Christian Today) – Restrictions on religion in countries around the world have fallen for the second year running.

Even though there was a rise in acts of terrorism linked to religion, latest figures show a continuing decline in hostility to religion, whether by governments or in societies generally.

Pew Research studied 198 countries.

Nearly a quarter still had high or very high levels of restrictions, but this was down in 2014 to 24 per cent from 28 per cent in 2013.

Social hostility to religion fell by a similar amount.

Because countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan, where there are some of the strongest restrictions, are very populous, nearly three quarters of the world’s population of 7.2 billion live in countries with high restrictions or social hostilities to religion.

But overall there was a decrease in the number of countries where governments interfered with worship practices.

There also was a big drop in the number of countries where governments used force against religious groups that resulted in individuals being killed, physically abused, imprisoned, detained or displaced from their homes.

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