According to a recent report of US-based think-tank – the Pew Research Center, Bangladesh is among countries with "very high" levels of social hostilities involving religion.
The 'Social Hostilities Index' looks at violence, harassment and other types of religion-related hostilities committed by individuals, social groups and other nongovernment actors in society.
In terms of government restrictions on religion Bangladesh falls in the 'high' category, although, in terms of government favoritism of religious groups, Bangladesh ranks among the top ten countries.
Bangladesh ranks fifth among 25 most populous countries with social hostilities involving religion, and third in South Asia, behind India and Pakistan.
The research report titled 'A Closer Look at How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World' uses the 'Government Restrictions Index (GRI)'and the 'Social Hostilities Index (SHI)' to analyse and score different countries.
The report said Bangladesh, with the highest levels of individual and social group harassment in 2017, experienced incidents of mob violence. In November 2017, a mob of approximately 20,000 in Rangpur set fire to and vandalised approximately 30 homes belonging to the local Hindu minority community after a Facebook post demeaned the Prophet Muhammad, reads the report.
The report also mentioned the attacks on Buddhist monks in Bangladesh, including one in the Jessore District and another in Chittagong.
India leads the list of countries with highest levels of social hostilities.
India scores a high 9.5 on a scale of 10 as a result of sectarian or communal violence between the country's Hindus and Muslims.
Pakistan had the second highest overall levels of social hostilities with a score of 7.7.
Bangladesh scores 7.2, Afghanistan 6.5, Sri Lanka 5.6, Nepal 2.6, Bhutan 4.6 and Sri Lanka 3.8.
The report observes that over the decade from 2007 to 2017, government restrictions on religion — laws, policies and actions by state officials that restrict religious beliefs and practices — increased markedly around the world.
And social hostilities involving religion have also risen since 2007, the year Pew Research Center began tracking the issue.
In the case of Bangladesh, SHI scores declined modestly since 2007, but GRI scores increased.
Overall trend of the last 10 years suggests that Bangladesh's SHI declined from 8.3 in June 2007 to 7.6 in December 2016, and in December 2017 it was 7.2.
As for Bangladesh's GRI, it was 4.0 in June 2007, which rose to 4.9 in December 2016, and dropped to 4.8 in December 2017.
The report says, in 2017, 52 nations had "high or very high" levels of restrictions on religious faith and practice, representing 26% of the 198 nations assessed.
While this is down from 55 nations in 2016 (28% of nations surveyed), the number of nations with high-level restrictions stood at 40 (20%) in 2007.
In another part, the report says, "In 2017, among the 25 most populous countries, Egypt, India, Russia, Pakistan and Indonesia had the highest overall levels of both government restrictions and social hostilities involving religion. The countries in this group with the lowest overall scores were Japan, South Korea, South Africa, the Philippines and Brazil."
Pointing out that more than 5 billion people – or three-quarters of the world's population – live in the planet's 25 most populous countries, including China, India and the United States, the report says, "Looking at restrictions in these countries can give insight into how large segments of the world's population are affected by government restrictions and social hostilities involving religion."
"In some countries", the report says, "Levels of government restrictions roughly matched levels of social hostilities. For example, Egypt and Pakistan had 'very high' levels of both government restrictions and social hostilities in 2017, while Japan scored 'low' on both indexes."
In general, religious restrictions have been rising around the world for the past decade, but they have not been doing so evenly across all geographic regions or all kinds of restrictions," Pew summarised.