ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN KAZAKHSTAN

      

General Information

Republic of Kazakhstan

National name: Qazaqstan Respublikasy

Land area: 1,049,150 sq mi (2,717,300 sq km); total area: 1,049,150 sq mi (2,717,300 sq km)

Population (2008 est.): 15,340,533 (growth rate: 0.3%); birth rate: 16.4/1000; infant mortality rate: 26.5/1000; life expectancy: 67.5; density per sq mi: 5

Capital (2003 est.): Astana, 288,200 (formerly Aqmola; capital since 1997)

Largest cities: Almaty (former capital), 1,045,900; Karaganda, 404,600; Shymkent, 333,500; Taraz, 305,700; Pavlodar, 299,500; Ust-Kamenogorsk, 288,000; Aqtöbe, 234,400

Monetary unit: Tenge

Languages: Kazak (Qazaq, state language) 64%; Russian (official, used in everyday business) 95% (2001 est.)

Ethnicity/race: Kazak (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Tatar 1.4%, Uygur 1.4%, other 4.9% (1999)

Religions: Islam 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%

National Holiday: Independence Day, December 16

Literacy rate: 99% (1999 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007): $167.6 billion; per capita $11,100. Real growth rate: 8.5%. Inflation: 10.8%.

Kazakhstan lies in the north of the central Asian republics and is bounded by Russia in the north, China in the east, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the south, and the Caspian Sea and part of Turkmenistan in the west. It has almost 1,177 mi (1,894 km) of coastline on the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan is about four times the size of Texas. The territory is mostly steppe land with hilly plains and plateaus.

The indigenous Kazakhs were a nomadic Turkic people who belonged to several divisions of Kazakh hordes. They grouped together in settlements and lived in dome-shaped tents made of felt called yurts. Their tribes migrated seasonally to find pastures for their herds of sheep, horses, and goats. Although they had chiefs, the Kazakhs were rarely united as a single nation under one great leader. Their tribes fell under Mongol rule in the 13th century and they were dominated by Tartar khanates until the area was conquered by Russia in the 18th century.

The area became part of the Kirgiz Autonomous Republic formed by the Soviet authorities in 1920, and in 1925 this entity's name was changed to the Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Kazakh ASSR). After 1927, the Soviet government began forcing the nomadic Kazakhs to settle on collective and state farms, and the Soviets continued the czarist policy of encouraging large numbers of Russians and other Slavs to settle in the region.

Owing to the region's intensive agricultural development and its use as a testing ground for nuclear weapons by the Soviet government, serious environmental problems developed by the late 20th century. Along with the other central Asian republics, Kazakhstan obtained its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991. Kazakhstan proclaimed its membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States on Dec. 21, 1991, along with ten other former Soviet republics. In 1993, the country overwhelmingly approved the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. President Nursultan Nazarbayev restructured and consolidated many operations of the government in 1997, eliminating a third of the government ministries and agencies. In 1997, the national capital was changed from Almaty, the largest city, to Astana (formerly Aqmola).

Islamic History and Muslims


Islam is the largest religion practiced in Kazakhstan. Ethnic Kazakhs are historically Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school. Statistics based on the Muslim population in Kazakhstan varies a lot, it contributes to around 50% of the population or more, it is stated Islam is practiced by 47% of the population by the CIA and US Department of State in 1994, 53% by the Daik-Press in 2003, and 57% according to the Embassy of UK in 2007.

Islam was brought to the Kazakhs during the 8th century when the Arabs arrived into Central Asia. Islam initially took hold in the southern portions of Turkestan and thereafter gradually spread northward. Islam also took root due to the zealous missionary work of Samanid rulers, notably in areas surrounding Taraz where a significant number of Kazakhs accepted Islam. Additionally, in the late 1300s, the Golden Horde propagated Islam amongst the Kazakhs and other Central Asian tribes. During the 1700s, Russian influence toward the region rapidly increased throughout Central Asia. Led by Catherine, the Russians initially demonstrated a willingness in allowing Islam to flourish as Muslim clerics were invited into the region to preach to the Kazakhs whom the Russians viewed as "savages" and "ignorant" of morals and ethics. However, Russian policy gradually changed toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective consciousness. Such attempts included methods of eulogizing pre-Islamic historical figures and imposing a sense of inferiority by sending Kazakhs to highly elite Russian military institutions. In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring religious fervor by espousing pan-Turkism, though many were persecuted as a result. During the Soviet era, Muslim institutions survived only in areas where Kazakhs significantly outnumbered non-Muslims due to everyday Muslim practices. In an attempt to conform Kazakhs into Communist ideologies, gender relations and other aspects of the Kazakh culture were key targets of social change.
In more recent times however, Kazakhs have gradually employed determined effort in revitalizing Islamic religious institutions after the fall of the Soviet Union. While not strongly fundamentalist, Kazakhs continue to identify with their Islamic faith, and even more devotedly in the countryside. Those who claim descent from the original Muslim warriors and missionaries of the 8th century, command substantial respect in their communities. Kazakh political figures have also stressed the need to sponsor Islamic awareness. For example, the Kazakh Foreign Affairs Minister, Marat Tazhin, recently emphasized that Kazakhstan attaches importance to the use of "positive potential Islam, learning of its history, culture and heritage."

Soviet authorities attempted to encourage a controlled form of Islam under the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan as a unifying force in the Central Asian societies, while at the same time prohibiting true religious freedom. Since independence, religious activity has increased significantly. Construction of mosques and religious schools accelerated in the 1990s, with financial help from Turkey, Egypt, and, primarily, Saudi Arabia. In 1991 170 mosques were operating, more than half of them newly built. At that time an estimated 230 Muslim communities were active in Kazakhstan.

In 1990 Nursultan Nazarbayev, then the First Secretary of the Kazakhstan Communist Party, created a state basis for Islam by removing Kazakhstan from the authority of the Muslim Board of Central Asia, the Soviet-approved and politically oriented religious administration for all of Central Asia. Instead, Nazarbayev created a separate muftiate, or religious authority, for Kazakh Muslims.

With an eye toward the Islamic governments of nearby Iran and Afghanistan, the writers of the 1993 constitution specifically forbade religious political parties. The 1995 constitution forbids organizations that seek to stimulate racial, political, or religious discord, and imposes strict governmental control on foreign religious organizations. As did its predecessor, the 1995 constitution stipulates that Kazakhstan is a secular state; thus, Kazakhstan is the only Central Asian state whose constitution does not assign a special status to Islam. This position was based on the Nazarbayev government's foreign policy as much as on domestic considerations. Aware of the potential for investment from the Muslim countries of the Middle East, Nazarbayev visited Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia; at the same time, however, he preferred to cast Kazakhstan as a bridge between the Muslim East and the Christian West. For example, he initially accepted only observer status in the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), all of whose member nations are predominantly Muslim.

New Central Mosque of Almaty Kazakhstan

This blue turquoise dome mosque is very beautiful and stands up right away from the old grey soviet type building all over this district.
This is the biggest Mosque in Kazakhstan and its the new main central building of Islam in the city.
This true Central Asia style of mosque has 5 beautiful minarets all with blue domes. Its interiors are amazing and have beautiful finished carved works in the stone

          Central Mosque, Astana, capital of Kazakhstan since 1998

 

   Mosque in Pavlodar

Petropavl mosque

Manjali Mosque, Atyrau, Kazakhstan

 

    Shymkent (Chimkent) Kazakhstan city mosque

Shymkent (Chimkent) Kazakhstan city one more mosque

 

                         Karaganda Kazakhstan views - Mosque

                                  Kostanay mosque          

 

Islam and Kazakhstan

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Astana Capital Holy Mosque, Astana Qalasy, Kazakhstan


Aktobe Mosque, Ak-Tyube, Aktobe
Phone: 83132-563027

Muslimeen, Karaganda, Karaganda Oblost
URL: www.islamhouse.com   Phone: 300-56958426

Aksay town masjid, Aksay, West-Kazakhstan Oblast


ЕРЖАН, Karaganda, ZHEZKAZGAN
Phone: 3212-733311

Masjid Nurdaulet, Aqtobe


Mosque Karatau`s muslims, Kara-Tau, Dzhambylskaya
URL: http://web.host.kz/hilal   Phone: 32644 61877, 62491

Dar al arqam, Shymkent, Shymkent
Phone: 007-7013199837

Sabah Halal Restaurant, Almaty


Chiken House Cafe, Almaty
Phone: 007-727-2791831

Branch Assoceishn Haj of Kazahstan in Kyzylorda, Kyzylorda
  culture center of saudi arabian kindom, Almaty

Almaty City Central Masjid, Almaty
  Dar al arqam, Shymkent
  Taiyiba Islamic College, Almaty

  Aksay town masjid, Aksay
  Aktobe Mosque, Ak-Tyube
  Aqtau City Central Masjid, Aqtau Qalasy
  Astana Capital Holy Mosque, Astana Qalasy
  Atyrau Islamic Centre, Atyrau
  Aulie-ata mosque, Taraz
  Central Mosque, Oral
  ЕРЖАН, Karaganda
  Hamza mosqye, Masanchin
  Islamic Center, Astana
  masjed, Aktau
  Masjeed_Gornyi_Gigant, Almaty
  Masjid At-Taqua, Atyrau
  Masjid in Otegen Batyr, Almaty
  Masjid Nurdaulet, Aqtobe
  Masjid Tastak, Almaty
  mosque, Kokchetav
  Mosque Karatau`s muslims, Kara-Tau
  Mosque of Ekibastuz, Ekibastuz
  Muslimeen, Karaganda
  Oskemen Central Masjid, Oskemen
  Sultan-Rabat Mosques, Lengerskiy Rayon

   Muslim Owned Business

  Chiken House Cafe, Almaty
  Korkyt Ata Halal restaurant (by, Almaty
  Sabah Halal Restaurant, Almaty
  Sanjac(Halal restaurant ), Almaty

References
Islam in Kazakhstan
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Kazakhstan   , September, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107674.html ,  September, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=kazakstan   , September, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Kazakhstan
, September 2008.