Study: Religious Oppression Rises Despite Arab Spring

People who hoped the Arab Spring would lead to greater religious freedom across the Middle East have been sorely disappointed

And because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, more than 5.1 billion people (74 percent of the world’s population) were living in 2011 in countries “with high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities,” the study’s authors report.

 WASHINGTON (RNS) People who hoped the Arab Spring would lead to greater religious freedom across the Middle East have been sorely disappointed, and a new Pew study confirms that the region has grown even more repressive for various religious groups.

“In 2011, when most of the political uprisings known as the Arab Spring occurred, the Middle East and North Africa experienced pronounced increases in social hostilities involving religion, while government restrictions on religion remained exceptionally high,” according to the report by the Pew Research Center.

The study shows the number of countries in the Middle East or North Africa with sectarian or communal violence between religious groups doubled from five to 10 during 2011, a year that coincided with most of the political uprisings of Arab Spring.
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