Social hostilities involving religion can cross international borders, as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and their aftermath made clear. More recent examples include the violent street protests that broke out in several Muslim-majority countries in early 2006 after a Danish newspaper published a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in September 2005, as well as rioting in northern India in 2009 after a group of Sikh radicals murdered a leader of a minority sect in a Sikh temple in Vienna, Austria, in 2009.
Government restrictions on religion also can have cross-national impacts or influences. In 2010, for instance, the governments of Singapore, Indonesia and several other countries limited at least some activities of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, reportedly in deference to China, which continues to ban the movement. And in 2012, a Saudi Arabian journalist who had been accused of blasphemy by Saudi authorities was extradited to Saudi Arabia by the Malaysian government.
The most common kinds of influences, in descending order of prevalence, were: tensions over the movement of people (primarily migrants) across international borders; the alleged spread of religious extremism; efforts by governments to influence religious affairs in other countries; religion-related terrorism with cross-border support or impacts; hostile reactions to events that happened or are alleged to have happened in other countries; and religion-related war or armed conflict. See table above. (Read the full report.)
(For additional analysis of the Middle East-North Africa region, click here.)
* The analysis was written by Brian J. Grim, Senior Researcher and Director of Cross-National Data, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Research assistance was provided by Angelina Theodorou, Research Assistant, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.