Religious discrimination is universal. It may be subtle and not condoned by the law, but practised nonetheless. It may involve discrimination by one religion or sect against another, by the religious against those without religion, or by those without religion against the religious. Discrimination against religions is more familiar than discrimination by religions against non-religiously identified interests deemed to be in opposition to their tenets or authority. On a collective level, discrimination may take the form of boycotts, sit-ins, letter campaigns and demonstrations against governmental, non-governmental, and commercial organizations, and may involve violence, crime or even war. It is, however, particularly vicious on an individual level where non-believers or non-conformers may be called witches, heretics, or satanic, and barred from employment, denied shelter, harassed, expelled or imprisoned, even on the basis simply of their not being co-worshippers in the same church or creed.
Although religious controversy is probably less pronounced today than at any previous time in history, and although people today are in general more tolerant of the religious beliefs of others, religious differences can nevertheless result in serious conflict, and from time to time complaints are heard about oppressive action taken against religious minorities. Like racial prejudice, religious intolerance is a matter of sentiment rather than reason, which makes it all the more difficult to counteract. Particularly well known is the persecution of the Jews (reaching a peak in the Nazi regime) and the persecution of the Palestinians currently going on in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank.