On religious discrimination, India next only to Iraq: US thinktank

EnlightenedMonk

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On religious discrimination, India next only to Iraq: US thinktank

For India, international recognition of its free and pluralistic society has always been hard to come by and while things are changing, they are clearly changing slowly. A study carried out by Washington-based Pew Research Centre, the highly respected US thinktank, said India is next only to Iraq when it comes to social hostility and religious discrimination perpetrated by individuals and groups.

The study titled `Global Restrictions on Religion' took into account the situation in as many as 198 countries, North Korea being the only notable exception, to derive the conclusion. India was just below Iraq and well above countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan when it came to social hostility in the country. Pakistan is at the third place right below India.

The study, which claims to cover 99.5% of the world population, deals with restrictions imposed on religion not just by social groups and individuals but also by the government. Even in the case of government induced restrictions, India fares badly with its position in the top 40 countries out of the 198 mentioned.

Even though the report says that "the highest overall levels of restrictions are found in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, where both the government and society at large impose numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices'' India is ranked well above them in the social hostility index.

While India has fared badly on both, China has done remarkably well when it comes to social hostility even though it has done badly in the government imposed restrictions section. "Vietnam and China, for instance, have high government restrictions on religion but are in the moderate or low range when it comes to social hostilities. Nigeria and Bangladesh follow the opposite pattern: high in social hostilities but moderate in terms of government actions,'' it says.

The report clubs India with Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Bangladesh as countries where large segments of the population want to protect the special place of one particular religion. This is how it explains the high social hostility index for these countries. "Many of the restrictions imposed in these countries are driven by groups pressing for the enshrinement of their interpretation of the majority faith, including through Shariah law in Muslim societies and Hindutva movement in India which seeks to define India as a Hindu nation,'' says the report.

In preparing this study, states the report, the Pew Forum devised a battery of measures, phrased as questions, to gauge the levels of government and social restrictions on religion in each country. "To answer these questions, Pew Forum researchers combed through 16 widely cited, publicly available sources of information, including reports by the US State Department, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the Council of the European Union, the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, the Hudson Institute and Amnesty International,'' it states.
On religious discrimination, India next only to Iraq: US thinktank - India - The Times of India
 

EnlightenedMonk

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To me, it seems like a politically motivated report produced under pressure from some Middle Eastern nations which want to project India in bad light...

Seems like a really pathetic joke compared to some of the activities taking place in the Middle East...
 

ppgj

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USA perceives itself as some moral guardian of the world giving sermons on religious freedom, human rights etc.. thro' various annual reports and think tanks.
china did the right thing when they brought out similar annual reports on human rights and they went quiet after that.
time for india to do the same. india has been an example of plurality and coexistence for ages and has been acknowledged so by intellectuals all over. there is nothing to hide and instances if any are hotly contested by the free media.
 

ejazr

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To me, it seems like a politically motivated report produced under pressure from some Middle Eastern nations which want to project India in bad light...

Seems like a really pathetic joke compared to some of the activities taking place in the Middle East...
Why do you assume ME nations had anything to do with a report that actually puts the ME as a region at the top of the list in terms of overall religious freedom. It is based on PEW research group that is based in Washington.

The main issue is with perceptions here. The report divides relgious freedom between social hostility and government controls. While India does well on the government control index, it fares bad on the social hostility according to PEW research. The section on India actually focusses mainly on hostility to Christians mainly around conversion issues. Examples are given on pg 45-48 of the report.

I guess we will have to look at the source and methodology of the data but its possible that they have focussed only on prominent media covered incidents and communal riots instead of taking an overall survey which would have shown that giving such a high social hositliy score just doesn't make any sense.

The full report can be accessed here
Pew Forum: Global Restrictions on Religion: Executive Summary
 

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