Studies: Religious violence up in recent years


Violence against religions is as old as time, but studies have shown that in the past decade worldwide, the number of incidents have spiked upward.

According to Pew Research Center, in 2018 more than a quarter of the world's countries experienced a high incidence of hostilities motivated by religious hatred, mob violence related to religion, terrorism, and harassment of women for violating religious codes. That’s up nearly 10 percentage points from a decade ago and affecting virtually every religious group: with Christians, Muslims, and Jewish groups the most targeted.

In the United States, the FBI says hate crimes reports were up about 17 percent in 2017, the last year data is available, marking the third straight year it's increased. Specifically, religious based hate crimes went up 23 percent in 2017 from 2016.

Among cases in recent years: the tree of life shooting in Pittsburgh last year, and the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The Sutherland Springs Church Shooting in Texas in 2017 is the deadliest shooting in an American place of worship in modern history, but authorities said that shooting was not motivated by religion.

The Public Religion Research Institute found there may be a double standard when it comes to who commits the crime. Their study showed that three-quarters of those surveyed told them that self-described Christians who commit acts of violence in the name of Christianity aren't really Christian, and half said the same about people who claim to be Muslim and commit religiously-motivated violence.

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