New research by the Pew Research Center shows that persecution rose in 2015, reversing a several trend of declines. The study says that 40% of countries had either high or very high levels of restrictions on religion. The research found that countries with high or very high restrictions from the government, as well as countries with high or very high levels of social hostility toward religion increased. The increases in social hostility was due to “increases in mob violence related to religion, individuals being assaulted or displaced due to their faith, and incidents where violence was used to enforce religious norms.” On the government side, more than half the countries had “widespread harassment of religious groups” and the governments use of force against religion increased as well.
4/18/2017 (Pew Forum) – Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015 for the first time in three years, according to Pew Research Center’s latest annual study on global restrictions on religion.
The share of countries with “high” or “very high” levels of government restrictions – i.e., laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices – ticked up from 24% in 2014 to 25% in 2015. Meanwhile, the percentage of countries with high or very high levels of social hostilities – i.e., acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organizations or groups in society – increased in 2015, from 23% to 27%. Both of these increases follow two years of declines in the percentage of countries with high levels of restrictions on religion by these measures.