RFI’s Paul Marshall: “Pew Survey On Blasphemy Laws Must Be Supplemented With Grounded Realities”


Paul Marshall, Director of RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, authored an article published recently in Religion Unplugged titled, “Pew Survey On Blasphemy Laws Must Be Supplemented With Grounded Realities.”

Marshall observes:

The Pew Research Center is noted for producing excellent data-rich surveys of trends, including religious trends, in the United States and in the world at large. In recent years, it has drawn on its wider body of surveys to take up the subject of blasphemy and apostasy laws and produce annual reports about them. On Jan. 25, Pew published its latest overview, headlined “Four-in-ten countries and territories worldwide had blasphemy laws in 2019.”

“Pew’s survey and the cautions they give are invaluable, but there are some additional caveats that should be made,” according to Marshall. He summarizes these caveats — applicable in Muslim-majority countries and the West — and explains why failing to take full account of them is so consequential. Pew’s surveys on blasphemy and apostasy laws will not adequately reflect conditions in countries like Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Iran, Scotland, Pakistan, and elsewhere, Marshall contends, without incorporating them into the analysis.

Read the full article: “Pew Survey On Blasphemy Laws Must Be Supplemented With Grounded Realities.”