Although over 80 countries have either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”, but Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report published on October three.
Islam, Christianity, Buddhism is the “official state religion” in 27, 13 and two countries; and “preferred/favored religion” in three, 28 and four countries respectively. Judaism is “official state religion” in one country, while five countries prefer/favor multiple religions.
Ten countries are “hostile to religious institutions”, while 106 countries have no “official or preferred religion”, the report adds.
“Countries with an official or preferred religion are more likely than those without to have government restrictions on religion”, the report points out.
Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commending the Hindu community for their contributions to the society and the nation where they live despite the “official” or “preferred” status; urged them to continue with the traditional values of hard work, higher morals, stress on education, sanctity of marriage, etc.; amidst so many distractions.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, advised Hindus to focus on inner search, stay pure, explore the vast wisdom of scriptures, make spirituality more attractive to youth and children, stay away from the greed, and always keep God in the life.
The study says that Islam is the world’s most common official religion. It states:
Among the 43 countries with a state religion, 27 (63%) name Sunni Islam, Shia Islam or just Islam in general as their official faith. Lebanon in the Middle East is the only country in the region without an official or favored religion.
After Islam comes Christianity, which is the second most common official religion around the world. Thirteen countries (30% of countries with an official religion) declare Christianity, in general, or a particular Christian denomination to be their official state religion. Nine of these countries are in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Monaco, and Iceland. Two countries in the Americas – Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic – and one in the Asia-Pacific region – Tuvalu – have Christianity as their official state religion. Only one country in sub-Saharan Africa is officially Christian: Zambia.
Buddhism is the official religion in two countries, Bhutan and Cambodia. Israel is the only country in the world with Judaism as its official state religion.
On Hinduism the report states:
No country names Hinduism as its official state religion – though India has a powerful Hindu political party, and Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism in 2015, when the rejection of a constitutional amendment declaring Hinduism as the state religion led to a confrontation between pro-Hindu protesters and police.
Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC.