The confessional situation in the modern Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan model of interethnic and interfaith harmony. In Kazakhstan a stable model of interaction of ethnic groups and religions, providing stability and an atmosphere of creativity and harmony in society. As noted by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, "Our model of interethnic and interfaith harmony - this is a real contribution of Kazakhstan into the global process of interaction between different religions."

The Republic of Kazakhstan since independence pursues a deliberate state policy in the religious sphere. The situation in the sphere of religion and interfaith relations in Kazakhstan over the past two decades has changed dramatically. One of the characteristic features of the development at this stage has been a steady increase in the role of religion in society. Increases its credibility and status, extended functions, a growing number of believers and religious associations.

According to the results of the 2009 national census, 70.2% of the population identified themselves as Muslims, 26% - Christians, 0.03% - Jews, 0.1% - Buddhists, 0.2% - the followers of other religions. At the same time non-believers consider themselves to 2.8% of the population and 0.5% of the respondents refused to answer.

Religious revival process were the result of policies aimed at ensuring freedom of conscience, spiritual progress, the preservation and strengthening of civil peace and inter-faith harmony in the country. Despite the fact that some foreign and domestic human rights organizations assert the regular violation of religious freedom, restrictions on the activities of religious associations, the facts suggest otherwise. The followers of all religions in Kazakhstan have ample opportunities to meet their spiritual needs.

The population of Kazakhstan is represented by a variety of ethnic and religious groups. From harmony and peaceful cooperation of people with different beliefs and faiths depend on the preservation and strengthening of political stability, economic development and social progress. To this end, the government has a policy of maintaining inter-ethnic and inter-confessional consent, maintaining an atmosphere of tolerance and constructive dialogue, the prevention of extremism.

Kazakhstan's experience in the area of religious harmony in many ways unique. The country offers a wide range of religious communities from traditional beliefs (Islam and Christianity) to new, non-traditional, not previously represented in the country's religious movements.

Kazakhstan recognized achievements was the construction of a democratic and secular state, which ensures equal opportunities for economic, social, cultural and spiritual development for members of all groups. The principles of inter-ethnic and inter-confessional accord are implemented in the policies of central authorities, and in each region. Broad support for the interfaith harmony have a national-cultural centers, religious organizations.

In modern Kazakhstan are traditionally high religious and ethnic tolerance. In the process of building a democratic society has radically changed the relationship between the state and religious associations. In accordance with the Constitution and adopted in 1992 the Law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations" was legislative strengthening the principle of religious freedom. The state recognizes the equality of all citizens, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation. Prohibited any limit human and civil rights.

Keep in mind, though, that in Kazakhstan a stable model of interethnic and interfaith harmony, its maintenance needs and the tireless efforts of the state and of civil society, including religious organizations. Constant monitoring of the situation in this area, cooperation between all stakeholders.

Summing up, it is necessary to identify the main principles on which the interfaith relations in Kazakhstan.

  1. The Constitution and laws of the country guarantee the protection of freedom of conscience and religion.

The Constitution prohibits any form of discrimination based on religious, ethnic or other grounds. The law "On freedom of conscience and religion in the Republic of Kazakhstan" created all legal basis for the free functioning of religious associations. The country acceded to the major international agreements and treaties on human rights, including the fundamental covenants of the United Nations in this field.

  1. The State shall create equal and favorable conditions for the implementation of the faiths of their functions.

This has contributed to a significant increase in the number of religious associations in the period of independence.

Despite the fact that the majority of Kazakhstan's population consider themselves Muslim, it does not hinder the full functioning of other faiths. This is evidenced by a manifold increase in the number of non-Muslim religious communities. Since independence, the number of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant communities has increased several times. Effective organization of Jews and Buddhists.

  1. An important direction of the state policy is to support inter-religious dialogue. At the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev created a unique institution of inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue, as the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan.

State policy in the sphere of religion within its authority implements a number of bodies. In 2006, it was created by the authorized body - Committee for Religious Affairs within Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In 2010, Committee for Religious Affairs was transferred to Ministry of Culture.

In May 2011, the Republic of Kazakhstan by the decree of the President Committee for Religious Affairs was transformed into Agency for Religious Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and removed from Ministry of Culture. At the same time the Agency transferred the functions and powers in the sphere of inter-confessional consent, ensuring citizens' rights to religious freedom and interaction with religious associations.

This decision demonstrates that our country's leadership will pay more attention to the problems in the sphere of religion. Increase of the authorized body the status of which will be directly part of the government, will more promptly resolve emerging issues.

Agency for Religious Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan will work more actively on the implementation of state policy in the sphere of ensuring citizens' rights to freedom of religion, the strengthening of mutual understanding and tolerance between religious organizations of different faiths, their interaction with the state.

RK Agency for religions is the authorized body for the implementation of state policy in the sphere of ensuring citizens' rights to freedom of religion, the strengthening of mutual understanding and tolerance between religious organizations of different faiths, their interaction with the state.

Agency in accordance with the legislation carries out the functions on the development of proposals on improvement of the Republic of Kazakhstan legislation on ensuring the rights of citizens to freedom of religion; coordination of activities of local executive bodies in the field of the regulation of relations with religious associations and ensure the carrying out of religious expertise.

Since 2000, it operates an advisory body under the Government - Relations with Religious Associations Council. State authorities on a regular basis by the advocacy work aimed at strengthening interfaith harmony and prevention of religious extremism, organizes international and republican scientific-practical conferences and seminars on harmonization and strengthening of interfaith relations.

For the organization of the system monitoring and analysis, research in the field of religion in 2007, established the Research and Analytical Center on Religion.

Thus, Kazakhstan has created a proven inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony model. The experience of our country on the interaction of various denominations are studying international organizations and foreign partners, including the UN, UNESCO and the OSCE. In the international arena Kazakhstan is perceived as an area of ​​peace, a platform for dialogue and rapprochement of cultures and religions.

The development of religious institutions. In Kazakhstan for two decades of independence there was a significant quantitative and qualitative growth of religious institutions. The number of religious associations has increased several times, revived spiritual tradition, the construction of new places of worship - mosques, churches, chapels, synagogues. Increased the level of religiosity of the population. According to experts, the number of believers has increased since the mid 80s. almost twice - from 20-25 to 90-95%. These processes were the result of policies aimed at ensuring freedom of conscience, spiritual revival, preservation and strengthening of civil peace and inter-ethnic harmony in the country.

According to the number of believers traditionally leading religious communities of Muslims and Orthodox Christians, who make up more than 90% of believers.

Since independence, the role of religion in our society has increased significantly. As of 1 January 1989 in Kazakhstan operated 671 religious communities, 20 confessions and denominations.

For 20 years the number of religious associations has increased more than six times and as of January 1, 2011 was 4479, and the number of confessions and denominations exceeded 40.

The total number of religious communities are represented: Islam - 2756, the Russian Orthodox Church - 303, the Roman Catholic Church - 84 Protestant and newer religious movements - 1301. 3377 religious associations belong to religious buildings, of which 2416 - Muslim mosques, 269 - Orthodox churches 88 - Catholic churches, 5 - synagogues, as well as numerous Protestant and other churches.

There are 8 higher (including 2 Islamic, one Catholic, one Lutheran, Protestant 4), 6 colleges and three secondary religious educational institutions functioning permanent courses at major mosques and Sunday schools at churches. Currently, about 400 foreign missionaries from 20 countries are working in the republic.

The results of sociological studies show a steady increase in the number of believers in the country. The growth of the importance of the religious factor in the life of modern Kazakhstan society is obvious. Its dynamics and characteristics are expressed in the following forms:

- Enhanced the influence of religion on many areas of social and political life;

- Increasing the impact of religious groups on the daily life of broad segments of the population;

- Expanding the scope of religious education, strengthening its financial and material resources;

- Activated missionary and outreach in Kazakhstan religious organizations from different foreign countries.

Describing the religious situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan, it should be noted that it is directly determined by the overall socio-political and economic situation of the country. With the strengthening of the economy and the democratization of society weakens the destabilizing potential of a number of worrisome trends in the religious sphere.

One of the main factors of sustainable social development and improve the well-being of all peoples is a peaceful interfaith dialogue, in the way which carried out a number of significant steps.

The peaceful coexistence of religions and countering the spread of extremism - the priority factors of internal and external policy of Kazakhstan. Conflicts on religious and ethnic grounds, restriction of cultural, social, political rights, discrimination based on ethnic or religious lines can cause instability of the national systems of government and increased tension in international relations.

In the context of globalization and growth of international contacts it has become apparent that the situation in Kazakhstan is influenced by global geopolitical trends and events in the neighboring regions, especially in the CIS, Central Asia and the Middle East. Since some of the neighboring countries are experiencing serious social and economic difficulties, it is necessary to take into account this factor in the formation of policy in the sphere of inter-confessional relations. Kazakhstan must not allow imports of terror and violence, or become a safe haven for extremists and terrorists. External threats must not negatively affect the situation in the country.