Christians top the list for countries where they face either governmental or social hostility, according to a new report issued November 10 by the Pew Research Center. Christians have topped the list each year since Pew started collecting data in 2007.
The number of countries where Christians face some form of hostility rose from 143 in 2017 to 145 in 2018, the latest year for which statistics are available. Christians were followed in order by Muslims, Jews, “others,” folk religions, Hindus, Buddhists and the religiously unaffiliated.
Out of 198 nations studied, Christians faced government harassment in 124 countries, second to Muslims’ 126, and social harassment in 104 countries, one more than Muslims’ at 103. In some nations, both governments and private groups place restrictions on religious adherents.
The reason, according to the study’s lead researcher, Samirah Majumdar, is simple: “They are also the largest faith groups in the world and the most geographically dispersed.” She added, “A striking data point beyond that: The group that seems to be harassed in the third highest proportion is Jews, and they number 0.2% of the global population.”
Jews faced some form of hostility in 77 countries in 2018. “We’ve seen this in previous years as well,” Ms Majumdar told CNS in a November 6 phone interview.
Mark Pattison / CNS