A new report entitled ‘Religious Freedom in the World report 2014’ was launched in Britain today in the House of Lords, and included a video message from the Prince of Wales.
The document, which looks at 196 countries around the world and is an assessment of the state of religious freedom for all people of faith, was released on Monday in Paris by the French arm of the Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The report identifies 81 countries (41%) as places where religious freedom is impaired or is in decline. It indicates that while some degree of religious persecution can be found in every continent and major region of the world, the highest levels of religious persecution are found throughout many nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and much of Asia.
While six countries showed an improvement, four of these are still classified as having High or Medium levels of persecution. 55 countries showed deteriorating conditions, with religious freedom either in decline or significantly in decline.
Almost every identifiable faith group experiences some degree of persecution somewhere in the world. However,Christians remain the most persecuted faith in the world. Muslims also face serious persecution, often from other Muslims who do not share their exact same beliefs. Jews in Western Europe are feeling increasingly under threat; prompting many to emigrate to Israel in recent years.
Of the 20 countries that showed high levels of persecution, in 14 countries the persecution was linked to extremist Islam and in the remaining 6 countries the persecution was due to authoritarian regimes.