Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here's something I'm sure many have overlooked, an article in Turkish from last week on a recent vote in the parliament in Kazakhstan to make religious education mandatory.
The National Ministry of Education in Kazakhstan has made religious classes in the country mandatory in upcoming years, after a past where atheism during the period of Soviet rule had become almost a national ideology in the country. A spokesperson from the ministry said that "Religious education which had been optional till now will become mandatory from the upcoming year in schools. We believe that the creation of religious tolerance among children during their early years will be helpful."
The majority of the population in Kazakhstan is Muslim, and the Christian minority is almost entirely Russian Orthodox. Kazakhstan has a population of about 16 million, with 65% Muslim, 30% Christian, and 5% other. The country's official language is Kazakh, with Russian as the second official language. Kazakhstan has a presidential system, does not have a state religion, and according to its 1995 constitution is a secular state where ethnic groups are equal in the eyes of the state.
Kazakhstan has also recently banned the drinking of alcohol in open areas.