Criminalizing Conscience: The Status of Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Anti-Conversion Laws Around the World

November 2020 Edition

There is unprecedented religious persecution around the world. In recent years, the Pew Research Center has found increasing governmental and social hostility toward religious believers worldwide. The global level of government restrictions on religion reached an all-time high in 2018, the most recent year studied. Pew found that 56 countries have "high" or "very high" restrictions on religion.

While the specific threats to religious freedom vary in type and intensity, one common source is the legal and cultural support for apostasy, blasphemy, and/or anti-conversion laws, which often threaten the freedom to choose and/or change one's faith.

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