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Religious restrictions rising around the world

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 3:11 a.m. MDT

Worshioppers stand during a prayer service at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, Friday, April 26, 2013, in Cambridge, Mass. Leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston said Tamerlan Tsarnaev occasionally attended Friday prayers, but had protested the community's moderate approach. (Robert F. Bukaty, AP) Worshioppers stand during a prayer service at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, Friday, April 26, 2013, in Cambridge, Mass. Leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston said Tamerlan Tsarnaev occasionally attended Friday prayers, but had protested the community's moderate approach. (Robert F. Bukaty, AP)

Research shows that people around the world have more religious restrictions now than in 2006 and therefore have less religious freedom than in previous years, according to Pew Research.

In a recent Tedx presentation, Brian Grim, a leading expert on global religion and religious freedom, provides an overview of the freedom of the world’s populations to practice religion.

He explains that since 2006, Pew Research analyzed two overarching categories that correlate with loss or gain of religious freedoms: the number of government restrictions on religion and the number of religiously motivated social hostilities. A higher number of restrictions and social hostilities leads to a loss of religious freedoms.

According to the Weekly Number, “The Pew Research study finds approximately three-quarters of the world's population live in countries with high or very high restrictions on religion coming either from governments or groups in society.”

Grim clarifies in his Tedx presentation that there is some hope for change. “This new way of looking at religious freedom through the lenses of government regulations and social hostilities in concrete and factual terms has increased the ability of people to have discussions where discussions previously were impossible.” And that could lead to changes in these trends in future years.

Email: mhartvigsen@desnews.com

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