New Zealand is the Commonwealth country with the greatest amount of religious freedom, according to new research published this week by the Council of Christians and Jews.
The CCJ statistics have been unveiled ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place on April 19 and 20 in the UK.
The figures show that the 53-state Commonwealth is “a vibrant multi-faith entity, but that religious freedom is still severely lacking in some countries”.
Using data from the Pew Global Religious Futures Project, the figures show that Lesotho and Botswana closely follow New Zealand in the religious freedom rankings, but that Malaysia heads the list of those with the least religious freedom, followed by India and Nigeria.
Christianity is the largest religious community in 43 countries of the Commonwealth, although only eight designate it as an official state religion. And the most religiously diverse is Singapore, followed by Mozambique, while Papua New Guinea, which is 99.2 per cent Christian, is the least.
Zaki Cooper, a CCJ trustee, said: “With its population of 2.4 billion people in 53 countries, spanning six continents, the Commonwealth is a truly multi-faith entity. While Christians are the largest religious grouping in 43 of the countries, many of them have significant minorities from different communities.
“Our survey shows a mixed picture for religious freedom, as we have seen, for example, the persecution of minorities in some Commonwealth countries.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.