Kazakhstan, officially known as the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the largest landlocked country in the world situated in Central Asia. It covers an area of approximately 1.1 million square miles making it the ninth largest country in the world with a population of 18 million. The country is home to 131 ethnic groups which the law provides freedom of religion to all of them. Islam is the highest religion making up to 70% of the population, followed by Christianity forming 26% and other religions in the minority.
Religious Beliefs In Kazakhstan
Islam is practiced by up to 70.2% of the entire country’s population. The Sunni Islam’s are the dominant group, but Shia Muslims and the Ahmadi can also be found. Islam was brought into the country in the 8th century by the Arabs who came and settled in central Asia. The Kazakhs in the country accepted Islam due to missionary work done by the Samanid Rulers. Ever since then, the support for the Islam grew, and efforts were made by the Russians ensure it had become popular even in the 18th century. Though the Russians eventually started campaigns to weaken the Islamic beliefs, Islam survived even after the fall of the Soviet Union. After the country had gained its independence, several mosques and schools were constructed. This ensured the popular growth of Islam in the country.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity in Kazakhstan is the second largest religious group in the country with up to 24.5% of the total population practicing it. Most of it members belong to the Russians, Ukrainian, and the Belarusians ethnic groups. In the early 19th century, the Kazakhstan was part of the Orthodox Church in Turkestan, but in 1945 it was divided into smaller dioceses where an Orthodox church was built in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Several other churches and smaller groups had been founded and are still undergoing growth.
Roman Catholic Christianity
The Roman Catholic Christianity in Kazakhstan is part of the universal Catholic church in Rome under the leadership of the pope. 1.7% of the entire country’s population are Roman Catholic. In 1960, two Catholic churches had been built by the priests and clergy who had been deported to various camps in the country.After the fall of communism in 1991, Catholics’ population decreased.
Neo-Paganism, Tengrism, Shamanism, Animism, and other Folk Beliefs
These are the traditional or folk beliefs of Kazakh people and 0.3% practice them in day to day lives. It includes the belief in spirits and animism where they believe non-human objects have spirits, praying and offering sacrifices to dead ancestors. They also practice shamanism where priests who cure by magic, control various events, and communicate with the spirits are consulted.
Irreligion, Protestant Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Baha'i Faith, and Other Beliefs
All these other minority religions in the country are practiced by up to 3.1% of the country’s entire population. They include Baha’i faith where they believe in spiritual unity by all humans, Protestants Christian faith and unity, Judaism, Hinduism, Christian Science, Buddhism, Jehovah’s witnesses and Lutherans.
|Rank||Belief System||Share of Population in Kazakhstan|
|2||Eastern Orthodox Christianity||24.5%|
|3||Roman Catholic Chrsitianity||1.7%|
|4||Neo-Paganism, Tengrism, Shamanism, Animism, and/or other Folk Beliefs ||0.3%|
|Irreligion, Protestant Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Baha'i Faith, and Other Beliefs||3.1%|