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The Price of Freedom Denied
Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521146838
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About the Authors
  • The Price of Freedom Denied shows that, contrary to popular opinion, ensuring religious freedom for all reduces violent religious persecution and conflict. Others have suggested that restrictions on religion are necessary to maintain order or preserve a peaceful religious homogeneity. Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke show that restricting religious freedoms is associated with higher levels of violent persecution. Relying on a new source of coded data for nearly 200 countries and case studies of six countries, the book offers a global profile of religious freedom and religious persecution. Grim and Finke report that persecution is evident in all regions and is standard fare for many. They also find that religious freedoms are routinely denied and that government and the society at large serve to restrict these freedoms. They conclude that the price of freedom denied is high indeed.

    • Offers a global profile of religious freedom and persecution, including information on nearly 200 countries and selected case studies
    • Explains variation in religious persecution across countries and religious traditions, offering an explanation of why persecution tends to be higher among some populations
    • Demonstrates and documents how religious freedoms are denied by the government and the society at large
    • Argues that religious freedoms serve to defuse the potential conflict and reduce the level of violent religious persecution
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    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… provides a data driven but accessible counter argument to Samuel P. Huntington's 'clash of civilisations' theory … Throughout … Grim and Finke deal with the most politically and culturally sensitive areas of study with delicacy but also with a directness that is refreshing, most notably in their in-depth exploration of the high rates of religious persecution present in many Muslim-majority societies. By identifying the elephant in the corner that is so often unacknowledged in discussions of conflict - the very nature of Islam itself - the authors provide insight into one of the most politically delicate areas of social scientific study … [brings] together a decade's worth of research … a challenge to those who seek to downplay the role of religion in modern conflict and violence … an invaluable evidence base for policy makers in all countries seeking ways to reduce persecution.' Rachel Dearlove, LSE Politics blog (

    'The Price of Freedom Denied sets the standard for further study of religious persecution and the value of religious freedom. It should be read by anyone interested in those issues or their implications for democracy, peace, and economic prosperity.' Thomas F. Farr, Journal of Church and State

    '[A] dense and thought-provoking book … with the dispassion and technical sophistication of a NASA camera photographing Earth.' Jonathan Benthall, The Times Literary Supplement

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    21st Jan 2014 by SamiKiiski

    This is one of the most interesting and insightful books Ive read. It is written clearly and offers a global view why religious freedom really matters. I would say that it also is a book that I enjoyed because of the many examples that make the reading easy.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521146838
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus. 29 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Religious persecution: pervasive and pernicious
    2. Religious freedom: broken promises
    3. Persecution: the price of freedoms denied
    4. A closer look: Japan, Brazil and Nigeria
    5. A closer look: China, India and Iran
    6. What about Muslim-majority countries?
    7. Do religious freedoms really matter?
    Appendix. Testing the competing arguments.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Political Change and Conflict
    • Religion and Global Politics
    • Religion and Politics in Comp Perspectives
    • Religious Freedom and Christian Persecution
  • Authors

    Brian J. Grim, Pew Research Center
    Brian J. Grim is senior researcher in religion and world affairs at the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life in Washington, DC. Dr Grim is also the co-principal investigator for the international religious demography project at Boston University's Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, where he co-edits the World Religion Database ( His findings on international religious demography and religious freedom have been covered by all the major news outlets, including the BBC, CNN, the Associated Press, and Reuters, and he frequently presents to high-level governmental and nongovernmental groups. Dr Grim has extensive overseas experience. From 1982 to 2002, he lived and worked as an educator, researcher, and development coordinator in China, the former USSR, Central Asia, Europe, Malta, and the Middle East.

    Roger Finke, Pennsylvania State University
    Roger Finke is Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University and Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives ( He has published in numerous social science journals and has co-authored two award-winning books with Rodney Stark: Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion and The Churching of America, 1776–1990. He is the past president of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture; is a past chair of the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section; and has served as a member of multiple national and international councils, boards, and committees. He is the 2009 recipient of the Pennsylvania State University President's Award for integrating research, teaching, and service.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

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