Study: Religious terror, harassment of Jews increasing worldwide

June 26, 2016  

A new study has found that harassment of Jews worldwide continued to increase in 2014, the most recent year studied, even as government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion decreased modestly.

The Pew Research Center’s annual study of 198 countries, released Thursday, also found an increase in religiously-motivated terrorism, with 82 of the almost 200 countries studied experiencing religion-related terrorist activities in 2014, with activities in 60 of them leading to injuries or deaths. Casualties from religiously-motivated terrorist activities have been rising in recent years, the study reported.

The study did not disclose which religion the majority of the perpetrators of religion-related terrorism identified. However, all the examples cited were of acts perpetrated by Islamist groups and Muslim individuals.

More than half, or 58 percent, of the incidents of anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. in 2014 were motivated, in whole or in part, by anti-Jewish bias, the study reported, citing FBI statistics. Sixteen percent of such hate crimes were motivated by anti-Muslim bias.

The study found a “notable increase in the number of countries in which Jews and Hindus were harassed.” While Jews make up just 0.2 percent of the world’s population, they were harassed in 81 countries, up from 77 in 2013.

While some religious groups are more likely to be harassed by governments, the study found that Jews are more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups. In only 31 countries did governments restrict Jews, while individuals or groups harassed Jews in 80 countries.

The study also found that among the world’s 25 most populous countries, the highest overall restrictions on religion in 2014 were in Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey. With the exception of Russia, all these countries are majority Muslim.

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