The country with a population of 5 million people and covers a total area of 188,457 sq miles. There was no information provided on Turkmenistan’s religious affiliation. Ethnic Turkmen make up 77 %, by the most latest government census (1995). Russians (6.7%), Uzbeks (9.2%), and Kazakhs are among the minority ethnic groups (2 percent). The rest 5.1 % is made up of Azeris, Armenians, and other ethnic groups. Sunni Muslim is the dominant religion, with Russian Christian Denominations making up the greatest religious minority. It is uncertain how active religious observance is.
Turkmenistan’s population is predominantly Muslim, primarily Sunni of the Hanafi type. Islam has a long history of being tamed and blended with Turkmen’s traditional rituals and traditions. Especially with the development of secularism and maintaining strict control over the country’s leading Muslim clerics, while more conservative Islamic interpretations are repressed.
After independence, Islam has seen a controlled rebirth. According to the Government’s Commission on Religious Affairs, only 4 mosques were functioning during the Soviet times; presently there are 398. (CRA). Mary Province’s ethnically Turkmen, Baloch, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks are mostly Sunni Muslims. All along the Iranian border and in Turkmenbashy, there are isolated communities of Shi’a Muslims, most of whom are ethnically Iranians, Kurds, and Azeris.
Conventional mosque-based Religion does not serve a dominating role in society because of government restrictions, indigenous Islamic culture, or 70 years of Soviet domination. Local conceptions place a high value on birth, wedding, and death ceremonies, which include singing and dancing that even more traditional Muslims consider unorthodox. Such rites, together with tomb pilgrimages, have a larger significance in local Muslims’ presentation of Religion than regular mosque prayers.
With 89 percent of the population, Islam is by far the most popular dominant religion. Sunni Islam is the most widely practiced form of Islam in the country. In Turkmen, Christianity is the minority religion, accounting for 10% of the people. Other religions, especially Jews, account for less than 1% of the nation’s people.
During the Soviet era, Islam was extensively repressed in Turkmenistan in favor of Atheist beliefs. Mosques are closed around the country, and numerous Islamic traditions were outlawed. It wasn’t until 1990 that Turkmenistan became independent that efforts to resuscitate the religion began. Islamism was taught in public schools, and the country was dotted with temples and religious schools.
Ethnic Armenians and Russians make up a large percentage of unlicensed religious congregations, while ethnic Turkmen are becoming more common. The Roman Catholic Church, Shi’a Muslims, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many evangelical Christian sects such as “Separate” Baptists, Pentecostals, charismatic groupings, and an independent, non – denominational group are among the unregistered religions.
Active Lutherans are said to be among a tiny town of ethnic Germans who live mostly around Saragt. Inside the country, there are about 1,000 ethnic Poles who have been fully assimilated into the Russian population and consider Russian Orthodox. In the church of the Vatican Nunciature, the Catholic society in Ashgabat, which comprises both locals and foreigners, gathers.
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