10/10/2021 Middle East (International Christian Concern) – A new PEW research report indicates that on a global scale, government persecution is reaching a record high while religious terrorism is at a record low. This trend is largely mirrored in the Middle East North Africa context, according to the data used for the 2021 report from 2019.
The global median on a 10-point scale is 2.9 for government restrictions, but the Middle East region scored well above other regions at 6.0, with the next closest being Asia-Pacific at 4.1. Meanwhile, the same metrics for social hostilities measured 1.7 globally, the lowest since 2014. The Middle East again scored significantly higher than other regions at 3.8, with Europe behind it at 2.1.
A new metric of online governmental restriction was also assessed, with 28 countries (14% of the 198 included in the study) having some type of restriction, 10 of which were from the Middle East. Christians remain the most highly persecuted group with the religious group facing harassment in 153 nations, with Muslims facing harassment in 147. In 2007 when the annual study first began, PEW noted that Christians faced government harassment in only 79 countries.
Egypt was the highest-scoring Middle Eastern country in both metrics among the top 25 most populous countries. Iran and Turkey also fell into the “very high” category for government persecution. Globally, social persecution is “high” or “very high” in 22% of the world’s countries and government persecution matches a record high at 29% of countries ranking “high” or “very high”.
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