According to Pew Research Centre, harassment of religious groups is reported in more than 90% of countries. As noted in their 2018 study, the religions that were harassed in the greatest number of countries are Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others, which included Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and members of the Baha’i faith.

In recent research from the World Watch List, more than 340 million Christians are living in countries where they might suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination because of their faith. Among this number, 309 million Christians are living in countries where they might suffer very high or extreme levels of persecution.

While most people live in countries where their religious group is the majority, approximately 27% of people live in a nation where they are a religious minority.


Many of the 60,000 migrants who entered Canada in 2020 are claiming political or, increasingly, religious persecution, according to an internal report by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Nearly 10,000 claimants made religious claims out of a total number of almost 90,000, based on data obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada for the period January 2013 to September 2017.

Canada has led the world in refugee resettlement, surpassing the U.S. In 2018, Canada resettled 28,000 refugees. Meanwhile, the U.S. resettled 23,000, down from 33,000 the previous year.

According to Statistics Canada, the religion of immigrants to Canada is 54% Christian, 20% with no religious affiliation, 11% Muslim, 5% Hindu, 4% Sikh, 4% Buddhist, and 1% Jewish, other religions, and traditional spirituality.

United States

Many refugees who enter the United States are religious minorities. In 2016, 37% of the 85,000 refugees who resettled in the United States were religious minorities. 

Between 2002 and 2017, almost 425,000 Christian refugees crossed the U.S. border, making up 46% of refugee arrivals. In comparison, 302,000 (33%) of admitted refugees were Muslim. Almost 170,000 refugees of other religions entered at the same time, including about 55,000 Hindus and about 50,000 Buddhists. In addition, more than 20,000 with no religious affiliation, mostly from Vietnam and Cuba, entered the U.S. between the fiscal years of 2002 and 2017.

United Kingdom

Churches in the UK and across Europe have reported rising numbers of asylum seekers, especially from the Middle East and Central Asia, among their congregations over recent months. Nearly all are migrants from Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere in central Asia. 

Out of concerns over religious discrimination in refugee settlement, the Barnabas Fund reported that of the 7,060 Syrian refugees the UNHCR recommended to the UK in 2017, 25 were Christians (0.35%). The Home Office accepted 11 of these—meaning that Christians made up 0.23% of Syrian refugee resettled in the UK.


People who came to Australia as refugees or humanitarian entrants are mainly Christian or Muslim. Settlement data indicates that 51.5% of the refugees and humanitarian entrants who arrived in Australia since January 2000 are from various Christian denominations, and about 34% are Muslim.