Yael Siman

Yael Siman teaches at Iberoamericana University in Mexico City and has advised Prepa Ibero high school, part of Facing History’s Innovative Schools Network, in its work infusing Facing History throughout the school academics and culture. Yael facilitated Facing History’s Spanish-language online workshop “Un Odio Conveniente - la Historia del Antisemitismo,” a joint initiative between Facing History and the Pan American Development Foundation. She is co-founder and director of Nenemi-Paxia, an NGO that promotes citizenship education in Mexico.

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What Exactly is Meant by “Religious Diversity”?

Posted by Yael Siman on July 1, 2015

A first look at Latin America would lead us to conclude that it is predominantly Catholic with little religious diversity.

Data supports this notion. According to the Pew Research Center, 90% of Latin America’s population is Christian, while Muslims, Hindus, and Jews represent less than 1% each.

And yet, one of the 12 most religiously-diverse countries in the world, Suriname, is in Latin America. With a population of 520,000, Suriname is the smallest state in South America. According to Pew, it has a Christian majority (52% of the population), while the other half of the population is formed by two sizeable minorities: Hindus (close to 20%) and Muslims (about 15%). The rest of the population is made up of folk religions (5.3%), Buddhists (0.6%), and Jews (.2%). The unaffiliated represent close to 5%.

While exemplary in its diversity, Suriname shows us that the reality of religious diversity in Latin America is complex. So what exactly is meant by “religious diversity”?

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Topics: Antisemitism

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