New Zealand Tops List of Commonwealth Countries with Religious Freedom


According to the study by the Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ), New Zealand is the country where people are the most free to practice their faith, compared to the other 52 nations in the Commonwealth, reports Premier.

The CCJ analyzed figures from the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project and found out that Lesotho and Botswana followed the island nation in the religious freedom ranking. Meanwhile, Malaysia, India and Nigeria trailed behind the list.

Forty-three countries in the Commonwealth have Christianity as the largest religious community; eight of them identify Christianity as the country’s official religion.

The Pew research considered different factors affecting religious freedom in the Commonwealth countries. From the ability to evangelize in public to religious persecution against organizations and individuals, these were situations researchers used in the study.

“Our survey shows a mixed picture for religious freedom, as we have seen, for example, the persecution of minorities in some Commonwealth countries,” said Zaki Cooper, CCJ trustee.

Cooper hopes that the results of the study would let Commonwealth leaders be aware of the religious persecution happening in some countries. Hopefully, they would come up with solutions on how to promote religious freedom throughout the intergovernmental organization.

“If some of the Commonwealth members can persuade these countries to make progress where they are lacking in religious freedom, I think that would be a very good thing indeed,” said Cooper.

Forty-three countries in the Commonwealth have Christianity as the largest religious community; eight of them identify Christianity as the country’s official religion. Meantime, Singapore tops the list of the most religiously diverse country, followed by Mozambique, reports Jewish News.

Cooper added that, “With its population of 2.4 billion people in 53 countries, spanning six continents, the Commonwealth is a truly multi-faith entity.”

Jewish News

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at


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