Buddhism in Kyrgyzstan

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Buddhism in Kyrgyzstan

Post  kosovohp on Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:55 pm

The population of Kyrgyzstan is 80% Muslim, 17% Russian Orthodox and 3% other.[69]

During Soviet times, state atheism was encouraged. Today, however, Kyrgyzstan is a secular state, although Islam has exerted a growing influence in politics.[70] For instance, there have been various attempts to decriminalize polygamy, and to arrange for officials to travel on hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) under a tax-free arrangement.[70] Kyrgyzstan is an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim nation and adheres to the Hanafi school of thought.[71]

While Islam in Kyrgyzstan is more of a cultural background than a devout daily practice for many, public figures have expressed support for restoring religious values. For example, human rights ombudsman Tursunbay Bakir-Ulu noted, "In this era of independence, it is not surprising that there has been a return to spiritual roots not only in Kyrgyzstan, but also in other post-communist republics. It would be immoral to develop a market-based society without an ethical dimension."[70]
Bishkek Orthodox Church

Additionally, Bermet Akayeva, the daughter of Askar Akayev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, stated during a July 2007 interview that Islam is increasingly taking root across the nation.[72] She emphasized that many mosques have been built and that the Kyrgyz are increasingly devoting themselves to Islam, which she noted was "not a bad thing in itself. It keeps our society more moral, cleaner."[72] There is a contemporary Sufi order present which gives a somewhat different form of Islam than the orthodox Islam.[73]
In a traditional Islamic cemetery

The other faiths practiced in Kyrgyzstan include Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox versions of Christianity, practiced primarily by Russians and Ukrainians respectively. A small minority of ethnic Germans are also Christian, mostly Lutheran and Anabaptist as well as a Roman Catholic community of approximately 600.[74][75]

A few Animistic traditions survive as do influences from Buddhism such as the tying of prayer flags onto sacred trees, though some view this practice rooted within Sufi Islam.[76] There are also a small number of Bukharian Jews living in Kyrgyzstan, but during the collapse of the Soviet Union most fled to other countries, mainly the United States and Israel.

On 6 November 2008, the Kyrgyzstan parliament unanimously passed a law increasing the minimum number of adherents for recognizing a religion from 10 to 200. It also outlawed "aggressive action aimed at proselytism", and banned religious activity in schools and all activity by unregistered organizations.[77] It was signed by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on 12 January 2009

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