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Asia & the Pacific

Explore Pew Forum publications—including public opinion polls, demographic reports, research studies, event transcripts and interviews—that focus on religion and public life in Asia and the Pacific.

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The Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project
The Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world.
Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion
Pew Research’s fourth major report on global restrictions on religion finds that the share of countries with high or very high restrictions on religion rose from 37% in 2010 to 40% in 2011. The Middle East and North Africa continued to have the highest levels of restrictions in the year when much of the Arab Spring uprisings occurred, with social hostilities involving religion increasing markedly and government restrictions remaining high.
Among Muslims, Internet Use Goes Hand-in-Hand With More Open Views Toward Western Culture
A new Pew Research analysis finds that Muslims around the world who use the internet are much more likely than other Muslims to have a favorable opinion of Western movies, music and television and are somewhat more likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity.
Frequently Asked Questions About "The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society"
The Pew Research Center study on “The World’s Muslims” has generated a great deal of domestic and international attention. We have received many emails from readers and are grateful for the interest and feedback. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we have been receiving.
The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide range of topics, from science to sharia, polygamy to popular culture. The survey finds that overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law to be the official law of their land, but there is also widespread support for democracy and religious freedom. 
TEDx: Religious Freedom by the Numbers
Brian J. Grim, Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center, talks about religious freedoms and restrictions at the TEDx Viadella Conciliazione conference.
Conference Call Transcript - The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society
In a conference call with journalists, the staff of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life discussed the findings of “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society ,” the second report based on the survey.
Geography of the Conclave: Where Do the Cardinals Come From?
The conclave to elect the next pope will begin on Tuesday, March 12. Half of the cardinal electors gathering at the Vatican are European (52%), while 17% come from Latin America. Latin America has the largest share of the world's Catholic population (39%), while 24% of Catholics live in Europe. 
The Global Catholic Population
Over the past century, the number of Catholics worldwide has more than tripled. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly from 1910 to 2010. As a result, Catholics have made up a remarkably stable share of all people on Earth, though their geographic distribution has changed substantially.
The Global Religious Landscape
A country-by-country analysis of data from more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers finds that 84% of adults and children around the globe are religiously affiliated. The study also finds that the median age of two major groups – Muslims (23 years) and Hindus (26) – is younger than the world’s overall population (28), while Jews have the highest median age (36).
Laws Penalizing Blasphemy, Apostasy and Defamation of Religion are Widespread
On Nov. 20, a Pakistani court ordered blasphemy charges dropped against a Christian teenager who had been accused of burning pages from the Quran. A new Pew Forum analysis finds that as of 2011 nearly half the countries and territories in the world have laws against blasphemy, apostasy or defamation. 
Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion
Between mid-2009 and mid-2010, religious restrictions rose not only in countries that began the year with high or very high restrictions, such as Indonesia and Nigeria, but also in many countries that began with low or moderate restrictions, such as Switzerland and the United States. The report looks at restrictions due to government actions as well as acts of violence and intimidation by private individuals, organizations and social groups. 
Ramadan Observances Set to End
A new Pew Forum survey of Muslims in 39 countries and territories around the world finds that fasting during Ramadan is widely observed, with a median of 93% of Muslims saying they abstain from food and drink during the day.
The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity
The world’s Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during Ramadan and almsgiving to assist the needy. But they have widely differing views about other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam.
Faith on the Move
This study focuses on the religious affiliation of international migrants, examining patterns of migration among seven major groups: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, adherents of other religions and the religiously unaffiliated.
Religion in the News: Islam and Politics Dominate Religion Coverage in 2011
The biggest religion stories of 2011 involved tensions over Islam and questions about faith in presidential politics, especially Mormonism, according to an annual review of religion in the news.
Global Christianity
A comprehensive demographic study finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread, and no single region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.
Global Christianity: Event Transcript
In a conference call with journalists, Pew Forum staff members discussed the findings of a new report, Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population.
The Future of the Global Muslim Population
A new Pew Forum report on the size, distribution and growth of the global Muslim population finds that the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, but it is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next two decades than it did in the previous two decades.
Indonesia’s Place Along the Spectrum of Global Religious Restriction
This analysis draws upon testimony on U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy: the Outlook for 2010, before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, Feb. 3, 2010.
Muslim Population of Indonesia
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Indonesia Nov. 9-10 as part of a 10-day trip to Asia. A new Pew Forum graphic shows that Indonesia is the country with the world's largest Muslim population (205 million).
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