Hostility to religion falls worldwide

Restrictions on religion in countries around the world have fallen for the second year running.

Pakistan has some of the strongest restrictions regarding religion.Reuters

Even though there was a rise in acts of terrorism linked to religion, latest figures show a continuing decline in hostility to religion, whether by governments or in societies generally.

Pew Research studied 198 countries.

Nearly a quarter still had high or very high levels of restrictions, but this was down in 2014 to 24 per cent from 28 per cent in 2013.

Social hostility to religion fell by a similar amount.

Because countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan, where there are some of the strongest restrictions, are very populous, nearly three quarters of the world's population of 7.2 billion live in countries with high restrictions or social hostilities to religion.

But overall there was a decrease in the number of countries where governments interfered with worship practices.

There also was a big drop in the number of countries where governments used force against religious groups that resulted in individuals being killed, physically abused, imprisoned, detained or displaced from their homes.

There was a decline in countries where people were assaulted or kicked out of their homes because of their religion.

There was also a fall in mob violence against religion.

At the same time, religion-related terrorist activities increased to 41 per cent of countries, up from 37 per cent in 2013. There were also more deaths from religious terrorism.