FACTBOX: Pew rankings of global religious restrictions

Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:09pm EST
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(Reuters) - The U.S.-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has compiled a global measure of religious restrictions by country.

The report ranks countries by one index that assesses government restrictions on religion and another that measures social hostilities or curbs on religion that stem from violence or intimidation by private individuals or groups.

The Government Restrictions Index is based on 20 questions used by the Pew Forum to assess state curbs on religion at the national, provincial and local levels.

"Is public preaching by religious groups limited by any level of government?," and "Taken together, how do the constitution/basic law and other national laws and policies affect religious freedom?" are among the questions asked.

Both lists rank 198 countries worldwide and are based on scales of 0-10. Saudi Arabia was the only country to appear on both "very high" lists. The rankings fall under four categories: "Very High," "High," "Moderate" and "Low".

Following are the countries ranked as the most restrictive or "Very High" on both lists. The first list has 10 countries, the second has 11.


Very High or Top 5 percent of scores from 6.7 to 8.4.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, China, Egypt, Burma (Myanmar), Maldives, Eritrea, Malaysia, Brunei.   Continued...