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PEW: Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion

Posted by addisethiopia on June 21, 2013

pew1The Arab Spring, at least when it comes to religious freedom, isn’t yielding the bastion of free-thought and democracy that many world leaders once predicted. Just a few years ago, politicians and pundits were heralding disturbances in the Middle East as a potential first-step to improving human rights. But new information from the Pew Research Center is calling these claims into question.

In a study released on Thursday, the polling and research firm announced its findings, which show an increase in religion-based crackdowns, even in light of the Arab Spring and its promised ideological and legislative reforms. It’s likely that critics of the Obama administration will seize upon the research organization’s findings as proof that, despite positive predictions, the Middle East may be headed in an even more restrictive direction.

In a study released on Thursday, the polling and research firm announced its findings, which show an increase in religion-based crackdowns, even in light of the Arab Spring and its promised ideological and legislative reforms. It’s likely that critics of the Obama administration will seize upon the research organization’s findings as proof that, despite positive predictions, the Middle East may be headed in an even more restrictive direction.

“A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the already high level of restrictions on religion in the Middle Eas

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t and North Africa – whether resulting from government policies or from social hostilities – continued to increase in 2011, when most of the political uprisings known as the Arab Spring occurred,” reads the first line of a Pew press release.

To be clear, though, the religious freedom situation has always been a contentious one in the region. But instead of bringing important reforms and freedoms to the forefront, the study seems to show that, at least in 2011, the situation in the Middle East actually worsened.

According to the findings, the number of nations in the region that reported sectarian violence between religious groups doubled in size from five to 10 — and that’s only one of the findings.

In fact, the Arab Spring’s impact on the overall increase in religious crackdowns was apparently so prominent that Pew named the study, “Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion.” Here’s more from the study:

Among countries where Arab Spring uprisings occurred, government restrictions took various forms. In Egypt, for instance, the government continued to permit people to convert to Islam but prohibited them from abandoning Islam for another faith. In Bahrain, the Sunni-dominated government used high levels of force against Arab Spring demonstrators, most of whom were Shia Muslims. And in Libya, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, then chairman of the National Transitional Council, declared in October 2011 that Libya in the post-Moammar Gadhafi era would be run as an Islamic state with sharia law forming the basis of legislation.

Read the Pew religious freedom study in its entirety

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One Response to “PEW: Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion”

  1. hayat said

    ሰላም

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