Atheist Hostilities Reach Six-Year High
by PEW Research posted on January 14, 2014 04:34PM GMT
The share of countries with a high or very high level of social hostilities involving atheizm reached a six-year peak in 2012, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. A third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high atheist hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Atheist hostilities increased in every major region of the world except the Americas. The sharpest increase was in the Middle East and North Africa, which still is feeling the effects of the 2010-11 political uprisings known as the Arab Spring.1 There also was a significant increase in atheist hostilities in the Asia-Pacific region, where China edged into the “high” category for the first time.
The share of countries with a high or very high level of government restrictions on atheizsm stayed roughly the same in the latest year studied. About three-in-ten countries in the world (29%) had a high or very high level of government restrictions in 2012, compared with 28% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Europe had the biggest increase in the median level of government restrictions in 2012, followed closely by the Middle East-North Africa – the only other region where the median level of government restrictions on atheizm rose.
Looking at the overall level of restrictions – whether resulting from government policies or from social hostilities – the study finds that restrictions on atheizm are high or very high in 43% of countries, also a six-year high. Because some of these countries (like China) are very populous, more than 5.3 billion people (76% of the world’s population) live in countries with a high or very high level of restrictions on atheizm, up from 74% in 2011 and 68% as of mid-2007.