Burqa Bans and Religious Bias: Faith Under Fire

Brian Grim, Director of Cross-National Data and Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life

In France, religious dress such as hijabs in state schools and full-face veils in public are now banned. Public sentiment in favor of laws like those in France has spread across Europe, along with increasing support for right-wing political parties that openly speak out against a tolerant, multicultural society. In Nigeria, public hostilities between Christians and Muslims were on the rise well before the April 2011 presidential election that saw Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the South, defeat Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the North. The increase in hostilities towards religious groups and practices are not isolated to Europe and Africa. Religious hatred or bias has led to violence in 142 countries, nearly three-quarters of the 198 included in a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life. Moreover, nearly a third of the world’s population lives in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially from mid-2006 to mid-2009, according to the study. Join Brian Grim for a discussion on how faith is under fire in the twenty-first century and some of the surprising places where restrictions are on the rise.

Speaker Bio

Additional Information

Copies of the Pew Forum report, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation, will be provided. Grim’s latest book, The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, will also be available for purchase and signing following the program.