Government restrictions on religion increasing worldwide

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Government restrictions on religion increasing worldwide
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2009, file photo, people walk by a poster from the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) depicting a woman wearing a burqa in front of a Swiss flag upon which are minarets which resemble missiles, at the central station in Geneva, Switzerland. Later in the month, a successful referendum banned the construction of new minarets in the country. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Around the world, government restrictions on religion have increased markedly in many places, not only in authoritarian countries, but also in many of Europe’s democracies.

That’s according to a new report by the Pew Research Center surveying 198 countries and covering developments through 2017.

The report, released Monday, also seeks to document the scope of region-based harassment and violence. Regarding the world’s two largest religions, it said Christians were harassed in 143 countries and Muslims in 140.

This was Pew’s 10th annual Report on Global Restrictions on Religion.

It said 52 governments, including those in Russia and China, impose high levels of restrictions on religion, up from 40 governments in 2007.

It said 56 countries in 2017 were experiencing social hostilities involving religion, up from 39 in 2007.