(JNS.org) Harassment and hostility towards religion has increased worldwide, with Jews and Christians seeing an increase in the number of countries where they are attacked, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
The Pew survey said that one-third of the 198 countries and territories included in the survey had high religious hostilities in 2012, the highest total since the survey began in 2006. The report also said that the sharpest increase in social hostility was in the Middle East and North Africa, which “still are feeling the effects of the 2010-11 political uprisings known as the Arab Spring.”
Jews and Christians were both the targets of increased harassment.
“Jews were harassed in 71 countries in 2012, slightly higher than the year before (69 countries, which was the previous high). Harassment of Christians continued to be reported in the largest number of countries (110), an increase from the previous year (105) but not a six-year high,” the survey said.
The report added that Jews were more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups in society rather than the governments, while Christians largely faced both types of harassment.
The report also noted that social hostility towards religion reached an all-time high. The report specifically mentioned persecution of Christians by the Muslim-majority in Egypt, mob violence directed towards Christians in Kenya and Nigeria, as well as terrorist-related violence such as the March 2012 shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, by an Islamic extremist.
Other world faiths also saw an increase in harassment, including Muslims, who were persecuted in 109 countries, up from 101 in 2011; Hindus, persecuted in 16 countries, up from 12; and Buddhists, persecuted in 13 countries, up from nine.