Harassment of Jews on the rise worldwide, study finds

Pew report finds anti-Semitic incidents in 77 countries in 2013, the highest number in seven years

Illustrative photo of Jews in Paris, January 12, 2015. (AFP Photo/Joel Saget)
Illustrative photo of Jews in Paris, January 12, 2015. (AFP Photo/Joel Saget)

The number of countries where Jews face harassment is growing, despite a downturn in hostile acts involving all religions worldwide, according to a report published Thursday in Washington.

The Pew Research Center said harassment of Jews was reported in 77 out of 198 countries in 2013 — the highest number in seven years.

“Jews are much more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups in society than by governments,” it said in a 86-page report.

“In Europe, for example, Jews were harassed by individuals or social groups in 34 of the region’s 45 countries,” it added.

Worldwide, Pews said “social hostilities involving religion,” measured on a country-by-country basis, declined in 2013 after hitting a six-year high the year before.

Twenty-seven percent of all nations witnessed such hostile acts as vandalism of religious property and desecration of sacred texts to violent assaults resulting in death and injury — compared to 33% in 2012.

That said, “the share of countries with high or very high government restrictions on religion stayed roughly the same” at 27%, it said.

The highest overall levels of restrictions on religion were found in Myanmar, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia, with both government and society imposing “numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices.”

“China had the highest level of government restrictions in 2013, and India had the highest level of social hostilities involving religion,” Pew said.

It added: “Christians were harassed, either by government or social groups, in 102 of the 198 countries included in the study (52%), while Muslims were harassed in 99 countries (50%).”

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