Legal limits and social pressures against religion have risen to the point where three-quarters of the world's population live in states where practicing their faith is restricted in some way, a new study said on Thursday.

Restrictions on religion, ranging from a Swiss ban on minarets to Islamist attacks on churches, rose in all major regions of the world during the study period from mid-2009 to mid-2010, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey said.

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Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Myanmar, Iran, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nigeria ranked as the countries with the most restrictions on religion - both by their governments and by their societies - in mid-2010, the survey showed.


"A rising tide of restrictions on religion spread across the world between mid-2009 and mid-2010," the 86-page survey said. They rose even in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa, where limits on practicing faith had previously been declining. Restrictions were highest in the Middle East and North Africa.