Freedom is a broad concept and can be measured along various dimensions. My main focus here, however, is personal freedom. Specifically, I look at the broad categories of personal freedom measured in the Human Freedom Index: rule of law; security and safety; freedoms of movement, religion, association, assembly and civil society, expression and information; and freedom as it relates to identity and relationships. I look at economic freedom as well, but as a separate category.
Why focus on Muslim‐majority countries?
The first and simplest answer is that these countries create a meaningfully distinct part of the world, often called “the Muslim world.”
Second, we should be especially concerned with the Muslim world because it has extremely low levels of freedom.3 This can be seen in the freedom ratings from 2008 to 2017, shown in Figure 1, which measures personal freedom on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents the highest level of freedom. According to the 2017 figures, the Muslim world is dramatically less free (with an average score of 5.52) compared to the freest regions of the globe—North America and Western Europe (both close to 9.00)—and also the world average (6.98). It has also become notably less free during the nine‐year period from 2008 to 2017.