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North & Central Asia >> Uzbekistan >> Religion in Uzbekistan

Religion in Uzbekistan

Before Islam came to Uzbekistan in the early years of the medieval period the people here used to worship elements of nature. The proof of this has been preserved in the traditional folk-art that speaks volumes about pre-Islamic Uzbekistan. Before the Arabs became the paramount political power around the 8th century, this region had already been exposed to Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and to the religious and social philosophy of Mazda.

With the coming of the Arabs came Islam. It has been the predominant religious force in Uzbekistan, as well as the rest of Central Asia, ever since the 8th century AD. Today 88% of the population is Muslim of which most are Sunni Muslims. Around 10% of the population is orthodox Christian. The remaining 2% is comprised of Jews, Catholics and Buddhists.

The Uzbek people have traditionally been a tolerant people. All religions receive equal respect in this secular country though Islam, in recognition of its historical significance, is accorded special status by the constitution.


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