Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Pew Forum Study on Religious Restrictions Around the World

religious_restrictions_population Howard Friedman:

Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life yestereday released a 72-page report titled Global Restriction on Religion. It finds that 64 nations have high or very high restrictions on religion, affecting nearly 70% of the world's population. The report tracks both official government policies and hostile acts from private individuals, organizations and social groups. Actions by local officials were considered restrictions even if they were contrary to national policy, as long as national officials did not contravene them. The study finds that 75 countries limit proselytization, and 117 require religious groups to register with the government. Christianity Today also reports on the Pew findings.



Anonymous said...
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Reform USCIRF said...

Pew Forum's "SHI" (i.e. Social Hostility Index which captures social hostility towards minority faith) construction is faulty. It solely focuses on negative incidents and ignores positive incidents. It is based on row number of negative incidents instead of %age of negative vs. positive incidents. Thus, it completely ignores positive developments and ends up portraying exception as rule.

More-over, PEW Study fails to distinguish between Provoked vs. non-provoked negative incident. Hate-crime vs. non-hate-crime (e.g. tribal land dispute in orissa state of india).

For instance, PEW ignores following facts and declares india as socially hostile towards minority:-
Fact #1: Socially hostile people will never elect minority person as Prime-Minister or Chief-Minister. However, India's Prime-Minister, Vice-President, Supreme leader of ruling party and several chief ministers belong to minority community.

Fact #2: Number of positive incidents is perhaps 1000000% higher than no. of negative incidents. For example, Large scale hindu participation in christian and islamic festivals and prayers.

Fact #3: Most negative incidents are provoked due to non-hatred causes like tit-for-tat, land-dispute and govt. benefits etc. Provoked negative incidents are bad and must be strongly condemned. However, it is not as useful as unprovoked hate-crime is measuring social hostility.

In similar manner, PEW's Government Restriction Index is built on negative. It ignores positive government accommodations. For example, India is perhaps the only country which has 1 public holiday assigned for each and every religion (list of religious public holiday: zorahstrains, jain, sikh, buddhist, christain, islam, hindu).