More countries around the world are clamping down on religious freedom and harassment and intimidation of religious groups has surged, according to a new study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The report tracked changes in religious tolerance through the middle of 2010. Though the findings are based on research done long before the recent eruption of widespread protests over insults to Islam, they shed new light on rising tension over faith

In every region on the globe, government restrictions, hostility or both were on the rise against religious groups, the sweeping study found. Signs of the trend eyed by researchers included governments banning particular faiths or prohibiting conversions, mob violence against religious groups and harassment over religious attire. Many such attacks or restrictions were levied against religious minorities.

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