FREEDOM OF RELIGION IN UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan is a sovereign democratic state secular nature, as clearly stipulated in Article 61 of the Constitution of the country: “The religious organizations and associations are separate from the state and equal before the law. The state does not intervene in the activities of religious associations. »
The law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on “freedom of conscience and religious organizations” was adopted on 1 May 1998 and has shown its effectiveness in matters of conscience and religious freedom.
Based on the requirements of the Vienna Declaration, the guarantee of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, aimed at ensuring inter-ethnic harmony and interfaith solidarity, one of the main priorities of the social reform sets the maintenance and protection of the citizen, as enshrined in the Constitution, namely the rights and freedom of citizens and their equality before the law regardless of race, gender, nationality, language, social origin, creed, religion, their personal and social circumstances.
The declaration of independence and the Uzbek government’s inclination towards the “ideals of democracy,” the secular way through election of the company’s development have created legal playing field against religions general and religious minorities in particular.
At the present time, Uzbekistan, 2226 coexist religious organizations of various faiths, including Muslim organizations in 2051, 92% in total.
In addition, in the country, 159 are registered Christian organizations, 8 Jewish communities, 6 Bahai communities, one Hare Krishna society and a Buddhist temple.
The religious education in Uzbekistan system includes the Tashkent Islamic Institute, 9 madrasas, Orthodox and Protestant seminaries.
Starting in September 1999, in Tashkent, at the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, was established the Islamic University of Tashkent. In 2003 emerged the first class of graduates students, and in 2005 by Magister students have completed their studies. At the university operates an academic high school.
Registration with the state of religious organizations is carried out according to the law on “freedom of conscience and religious organizations” of 1998 and the Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on “the procedure of registration with the State religious organizations in the Republic of Uzbekistan “of 20 June 1998. the national legislation, a restriction on the number of religious organizations is not provided.
In close cooperation with religious organizations, to assist in the implementation of various religious denominations, the joint development of proposals and measures for interreligious and interethnic peace and accord in society, the development of inter-religious dialogue culture with the Committee on Religious Affairs, was established the Council for confessions. The Council is composed of the leaders of the Muslims of Uzbekistan, the Diocese of Tashkent and Central Asia РПЦ, the Catholic Church, the Union of Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, the Christian churches of the Center for Full Gospel , the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Jewish community of Tashkent.
During the meetings of the Council, we discuss the issues of ensuring the implementation of national legislation, the observation of the rights of religious organizations and believers, as well as current issues.
With independence, the Uzbek believers began to freely celebrate all religious holidays. Taking into account the wishes of many believers, “Ramadan Khayit” and “Kurban Khayit” were declared public holidays. Also, it is widely celebrates Easter and Christmas for Christians, Pejsakh, Purim and Chanukah among Jews.
Each year, with the full agreement of the State, believers make the pilgrimage to the holy places – Muslims in Saudi Arabia to perform the rites of “Hajj” and “Oumry” Christians in Russia, Greece and Israel, the Jews in Israel. Since independence, more than 65,000 citizens of the Republic had the opportunity to make the Hajj in Saudi Arabia and more than 200 citizens to the holy places for Christians and Jews in Russia, Greece and Israel .
By the decree of the President of Uzbekistan of 28 August 2006, was created a Social Council on issues of organization and holding of annual events, such as the “Hajj ‘and’ Umrah.” The main objectives of the Council are to ensure effective coordination and cooperation of ministries and departments, local authorities and public bodies in the preparation and conduct of the pilgrimage of citizens engaged in the rituals of Hajj and Umrah “as well as control over the installation of safety requirements and provisions of the law in this sphere.
Full support is provided to pilgrims – the organization of special flights, medical services, reduced prices on airline tickets, rapid and unimpeded registration in visa applications.
At the end of 2004, the Muslim Council of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the National Society for the Blind held the presentation of the Holy Qur’an printed in Braille (reading invented by Louis Braille French). Uzbekistan became the third country to produce and broadcast this holy book.
In Uzbekistan, there are about 24,000 private citizens the opportunity to contemplate the world with their eyes. From now on, special boarding schools, public libraries in the country, and all interested parties at their disposal Braille copies of the Koran.
At the event, it was noted that the publication of the Holy Quran for the Blind, the organization of the translation for the deaf in both Friday mosques in Tashkent, the decision to implement this experience in other parts of the country are a priceless gift for our fellow citizens with disabilities.
In the years of independence, have been translated and published in Uzbek Quran (3 times) and 16 books of the Old and New Testaments.
Hundreds of mosques, churches and places of worship were built and renovated, including Orthodox churches in Tashkent, Samarkand and Navoi, a Catholic church in Tashkent, the Armenian Church of Samarkand. By decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of 22 August 2003, 15 sites – religious groups, places of pilgrimage and a cemetery were transferred to the Directorate of Muslims of Uzbekistan.
In 1995 in Tashkent was held Christian-Muslim conference “Living together under one sky.” Representatives of the World Council of Churches and a number of foreign churches took part in the forum.
In 1996, there were 2 important dates to:
- in November the 125th anniversary of the Diocese of Tashkent and Central Asia РПЦ. In honor of the celebration of this day, for the first time in the history of the Church in Central Asia, has moved the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexei II;
- in December, the Evangelical Lutheran congregation celebrated the 100th anniversary of the only Lutheran Church in Central Asia.
In 2000 in Tashkent held the International Conference on “World Religions on the path of world cultures.”
In 2001, the Diocese of Tashkent and Central Asia celebrated its 130th birthday.
In 2002, the Catholic Church marked the 100th anniversary of the Renaissance of Catholicism in Central Asia.
In October 2003, in Samarkand, events were held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is noted that in the current activities participated by representatives of different faiths.
During the years of Uzbekistan’s independence several international conferences have been held to mark important dates, birthdays of famous Muslim theologians around the world:
- September 1993, the 675th anniversary of Bakhaouddin Naqshbandi;
- November 1995, the 920th anniversary of Ma Khmous az-Zamakhshari and the 850th anniversary of Najmouddin Koubro;
- October 1998, the 1225th anniversary of Imam al-Bukhari;
- November 2000, the 1130th anniversary of Imam Abu Mansour al-Moturidi and the 910th anniversary of al-Bourkhaniddin Marguinani;
- November 2003, the 900th anniversary of Abdoulhalik Guijdouvan;
- December 2004, the 600th anniversary of Khodja Akhror Vali.
The announcement of Tashkent by the Organization for Education, Science and Islamic culture (OESCI) as the capital of Islamic culture in 2007 was another international recognition of consistent and systematic work to promote freedom of conscience the rehabilitation and development of Islamic values, the study of the rich scientific and cultural heritage of the ancestors, reconstruction and improvement of burial sites of great thinkers and saints.
At the forum, organized on this occasion was attended by more than 100 well-known clerics, religious scholars and specialists, personalities of state, religious and community from more than 30 countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, China, Japan, USA, UK, France, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Bangladesh, officials of international organizations. Among them were present influential representatives of the Muslim world – heads of major international organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab League and OESCI.
At the forum, it was noted that in the years of independence, Uzbekistan has achieved considerable success in the field of preservation of national traditions and customs that perpetuate the memory of great ancestors, land sacred places of their graves. Creative work include the improvement of these places of worship, such as Imam Bukhari and Imam set Moturidi in Samarkand, Abdoukhalik Gijduvani and Bakhaouddin Nakshbandi the complex and Minorai Kalon Mosque Kalon in Bukhara, the monuments ‘Akhmad Ferghani and Bourkhaniddin Marginani in Ferghana, and Imam Hakim Termizi Termizi in Surkhandarya, historical Itchankala complex in Khiva, Dorut Tilavat to Shakhrisabz, Kok Gumbaz and Odina in Karshi, the mausoleum Kasim Shaikh in Karmana.
In accordance with the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan of 20 February 2007 “On the support of public funds Hazrati Imam” in Tashkent in Khazrati Imam complex were made immense construction, reconstruction and redevelopment. Today, the newly erected Khazrati Imam mosque, madrasah Barakkhan, place of worship moui Mubarak, the Tillashaikh Mosque, the building of the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan and other unique buildings: that’s all a section of the living confirmation of the immense creative potential of our people.
In 2007, the Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers “On the shape necessary conservation measures of the” Koran of Osman “was adopted. According to this decision, a number of measures have been taken, particularly the construction of a new place to contain and preserve the Koran Osman; On this occasion many foreign experts were invited to perform restoration work, etc.
For a full consecration of the religious life of Uzbekistan, it publishes a series of newspapers and magazines, including the newspaper “Islom nouri (Light of Islam),” “Words of Life”, magazines “Khidoyat”, “East from above” etc.
Today religious organizations are enough for all the religious population of Uzbekistan, can practice his religion in peace.