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Summary

On average, eight in 10 people in the world currently align themselves with a religious group.1 A recent religious demographic study shows that 2.2 billion, or 32%, of the world follows Christianity, 1.6 billion, 23%, are Muslims, 15% are Hindus, 7% are Buddhists, and 0.2% of the world is Jewish.2 Additionally,, 400 million people are affiliated with indigenous, folk, or other traditional religions, and 58 million people are religiously affiliated with smaller scale/lesser known religions such as Zoroastrianism, Wicca, and Sikhism.3 Christianity is currently the most evenly distributed religion with roughly equal amounts of Christians residing on the various continents.4 Muslims, Hindus, and Christians all tend to live in countries in which they are the majority.4 People who claim to be religiously unaffiliated are beginning to grow in number and are the majority groups in China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and North Korea.5 At the beginning of 2014, organizations noted that religious conflicts had reached a new high from observations taken over the past six years.6 In 2012 nearly one-third of all countries in the world recorded religiously motivated conflicts.7 For example Middle Eastern countries are still mitigating the effects of the Arab Spring uprisings.8 China has recently raised the religious conflict scale in the Asia-Pacific region.9 Additionally, nearly 29% of the world’s nations had high levels of government sanctioned religious restrictions for their citizens.10 The most common form of religious discrimination over the past year has been the abuse of citizens who are members of religious minorities.11 Around 47% of countries reported that this was the type of persecution that they faced.12 Religiously motivated terrorist activities have also increased in frequency over the past two years.13 Sectarian violence, especially in Syria, has increased in nearly one-fifth of the world.14 Sectarian strife has created strain on neighbouring countries since violence has caused entire groups of people to seek asylum in other countries.15 1 http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/ 2-5 Ibid 6 http://www.pewforum.org/2014/01/14/religious-hostilities-reach-six-year-high/ 7-15 Ibid

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