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Global Religious Intolerance Up-Even In The US

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The recent spasm of religious violence in the Middle East is part of a larger pattern: A major survey released Thursday finds official and unofficial hostility toward religious freedom rising in every corner of the world — including in the U.S., which is no longer ranked among world’s most tolerant nations.

The annual study, compiled by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, concluded that three-fourths of the world’s population live in countries that impose significant political and social restrictions on religion, with the United States being moved out of the list of countries with the best records on religious tolerance.

“During the latest year studied, the U.S. moved from the low category of government restrictions on religion to the moderate category for the first time,” Pew said in a news release outlining key findings of the report.

The U.S. saw a rise for the first time, particularly at the state and local level, where incidents restricting religious groups from practicing their faith were up.

Among those problems cited in the U.S. as keeping people from practicing their religion, were restrictions on the wearing of religious attire or symbols, obtaining zoning or building permits for new religious school and houses of worship, a climate of increasing “social hostilities” including a rise in “religion-related terrorist attacks” and an increase in workplace discrimination complaints based on religion.

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