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Published on November 16th, 2012 | by MEE Administrator

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Social hostilities 3.5 times higher when government highly favors a religion

From Brian Grim’s Weekly Number

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A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that – on average – social hostilities involving religion are 3.5 times higher in countries with very high government favoritism of religion than in countries with low levels of favoritism.

Countries with very high government favoritism between mid-2006 and mid-2010 were: Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Greece, Israel, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

As noted in previous Pew Forum studies on religious restrictions, higher scores on the Government Restrictions Index are associated with higher scores on the Social Hostilities Index and vice versa. This means that, in general, it is rare for countries that score high on one index to be low on the other.

The new study found that some government restrictions have a stronger association with social hostilities than others. Government policies or actions that clearly favor one religion over others have the strongest association with social hostilities involving religion. The average level of social hostilities among the countries with very high levels of government favoritism (SHI = 4.8) is much higher than the average level of social hostilities among countries with low levels of government favoritism (1.3), as shown in the table. (Read the full report.)

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