Religious persecution

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within society to alienate or repress different subcultures is a recurrent theme in human history. Moreover, because a person's religion often determines to a significant extent his or her morality, worldview, self-image, attitudes towards others, and overall personal identity, religious differences can be significant cultural, personal, and social factors.

Religious persecution may be triggered by religious bigotry (i.e. members of a dominant group denigrating religions other than their own) or by the state when it views a particular religious group as a threat to its interests or security. At a societal level, this dehumanisation of a particular religious group may readily turn into violence or other forms of persecution. Indeed, in many countries, religious persecution has resulted in so much violence that it is considered a human rights problem.

Definition

Religious persecution is defined as violence or discrimination against religious minorities, actions intending to deprive political rights and force minorities to assimilate, leave, or live as second-class citizen.[1] In the aspect of state policy, it may be defined as violations on freedom of thought, conscience and belief spread by systematic and active state policy and actions of harassment, intimidation and punishment that infringes or threatens the right to life, integrity or liberty.[2] The distinction with religious intolerance is that the latter in most cases is in the sentiment of the population, which may be tolerated or encouraged by the state.[2] Denial of civil rights on the basis of religion is most often described as religious discrimination, rather than religious persecution.

Examples of persecution is confiscation or destruction of property, incitement to hate, arrest, imprisonment, beatings, torture, murder, and execution. Religious persecution can be considered the opposite of freedom of religion.

Bateman has differentiated different degrees of persecution. "It must be personally costly... It must be unjust and undeserved... it must be a direct result of one's faith."[3]