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Religions in Uzbekistan

The main religion of Uzbekistan is Islam – every travel guide book says it. But if you visit Uzbekistan, you’ll understand that the main religion is tolerance.

About 20 millions here are Muslims. 2,5 million are Russian Orthodox Christians, other – Catholics, protestants etc. About 0,5 millions are Judaists. But religious conflicts in Uzbekistan never happen. Every confession respects the others.

Sometimes locals ask a traveler – “What God do you believe?”
Any variant of answer mirrors at the asker’s smile:
“Oh, are you a Muslim? So am I!”
“Are you a Christian? Great! Do you know that we Muslims also respect Jesus as a prophet in Islam?”
“Are you a Judaist? Nice! I have a friend (a neighbour, a colleague) – he’s also a Judaist!”
Even if you’re an atheist, you’ll be said that there were a lot of atheists during the Soviet period – it was something like official religion in USSR.

All mosques and madrassahs are open for other religion adepts, unlike in other countries. All you need is to remember some basic rules – don’t enter mosques with any footwear; don’t disturb somebody when he’s praying.

May be you’ve heard about the Islamic period of Uraza (Ruza). Muslims do not eat and drink during the daytime. During this month in rural areas some café, restaurants etc. are closed even in big cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, Ferghana (not in Tashkent). Don’t worry about this tradition – nobody will convict you when you’re eating. Firstly, you’re not a Muslim. Secondly, you’re on a trip; even Muslims are restricted to keep themselves without food and water when they travel. It will be fine that you will not eat in public, on the streets. But it’s OK when you are inside a café.

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