IIRF Reports Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 2012)

By: Thomas Schirrmacher

The Situation of Christians and Muslims according to the Pew Forum’s “Global Restrictions on Religion”

The following considerations are based on the Pew Forum’s 2010 “Global Restrictions on Religion” results. The report comprises 198 countries and territories which make up more than 99% of the world population, and it investigates the two-year period from July 2006 to June 2008. Brian Grim summarizes the report as follows:

“On this basis our study comes to the conclusion that 64 nations – about one-third of the countries in the world – have high or very high restrictions on religion, be it as a result of government limitations, or on the basis of religiously-based hostile acts within society, or on the basis of both. Since some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, this means, however, that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high restrictions on religion. As a result, the brunt often falls most severely on religious minorities.”

The Government Restriction Index (GRI), which ranges from 0 (complete freedom) to 10 (no freedom whatsoever), is calculated as a result of 20 questions/categories determining countries’ restrictions on religious freedom. Both of the country groups listed here are those having high or very high restrictions on religion imposed by the state.

The Social Restriction Index (SRI) is calculated on the basis of 13 questions/categories capturing religiouslybased hostile acts of all kind within society. Both of the country groups listed here are those having high or very high restrictions on religion by social groups.