GOVERNMENTS used power to make non secular teams agree to Covid-19 restrictions in a single quarter of nations around the globe all the way through the pandemic, a brand new learn about has discovered.

The Pew Research Center learn about analysed restrictions imposed on non secular teams within the yr 2019 to 2020 in 198 international locations, and located that those that disobeyed worship restrictions have been subjected to bodily power, together with arrests and attacks. The learn about didn’t come with in those figures international locations that most effective enforced restrictions with fines.

“In nearly a quarter of countries, governments used physical force, such as arrests and raids, to make religious groups comply with Covid-19 public health measures,” the Pew learn about mentioned.

The document means that no less than one form of power was once used in opposition to non secular teams in no less than 46 international locations or territories. The use of power led to “detentions” in no less than 40 international locations or territories, “physical assault” in 11, “property damage, confiscation or raids” in ten, “displacements” in 4, and “deaths” in 3.

In Comoros, Gabon, and Nepal, police used tear gasoline to disperse non secular gatherings, and within the United States, police arrested folks at a rabbi’s funeral. In India, two Christians died in police custody after being accused of violating Covid-19 curfews, and in Montenegro, police arrested a number of Serbian Orthodox clergy on fees that that they had violated restrictions on out of doors public gatherings.

In one 3rd of nations, non secular teams defied restrictions to meet in combination for worship, together with in Canada and the United States. Religious teams in 54 international locations additionally criticised public well being measures as a contravention in their non secular freedom, and plenty of argued that they have been focused unfairly when put next with stores, eating places, and different companies.

In Belgium, a bunch of Roman Catholics requested the Council of State to nullify the suspension of non secular gatherings, pronouncing that it was once unfair that individuals have been in a position to move to stores however no longer to mass. In Sri Lanka, Muslims objected to obligatory cremations of those that had died from the virus, pronouncing it violated the non secular rights of the deceased and their family to have an Islamic burial.

Religious teams have been additionally blamed for the unfold of the virus in some areas. In 23 international locations, feedback focused Jewish communities, together with in France, the place social media posts caricatured a former Jewish well being minister poisoning a neatly; and, in the United Kingdom, the place on-line conspiracy theories claimed that Jews have been in regulate of the worldwide lockdowns.

In 15 international locations, Muslims have been focused; in India, hashtags similar to #CoronaJihad circulated on social media, and, in Cambodia, Muslims reported dealing with standard suspicion and discrimination after the federal government singled out Muslims by way of together with a “Khmer Islam” class in its statistics on an infection charges.

In 9 international locations, Christian teams have been accused of spreading the virus. In Turkey, there was once an arson assault on an Armenian church, with the culprit allegedly telling police that he had focused the church as a result of he believed Armenian Christians had introduced the virus to Turkey.

In many nations, non secular teams helped to advertise public well being measures, together with social distancing and different restrictions which affected their very own worship. This was once the case in the United Kingdom, but in addition Albania, the place non secular leaders cancelled gatherings and promoted the federal government well being measures. There have been estimated to be collaborative efforts between governments and religion teams in 55 international locations, together with many in sub Saharan Africa, the learn about famous.

The learn about discovered that, general, world ranges of presidency restrictions on faith remained in large part the similar as the former yr’s figures, with 57 international locations recording both prime or very prime ranges of presidency restrictions. This stays the perfect determine recorded since 2007.

The collection of international locations recording prime or very prime ranges of social hostilities in opposition to non secular teams — categorised as violence and harassment by way of folks or teams — fell reasonably to 40 international locations, alternatively, from 65 in 2012. Afghanistan crowned the checklist of nations with the perfect executive restriction and perfect ranges of social hostilities. Algeria ranked 2nd for presidency restrictions, and Egypt 2nd for social hostilities.


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