Kazakhstan - Religions

According to a 1998 government survey, about 80% of the ethnic Kazakhs are Muslim. The Kazakhs, a distinct ethnic group originating with Turkic and Mongol settlers who arrived there in late antiquity (first century BC ), are the dominant group in the population and are primarily Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school. Islam had been adopted by the Kazakhs as early as 1043, but many of its popular religious practices did not become common until the late 18th century. The Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Tatars (which together make up less than 10% of the population) are also primarily Sunni Muslim. Other schools represented are Shafit Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, and Akhmadi.

The 1998 report indicates that about 60% of ethnic Slavs are Russian Orthodox; however, 2001 government statistics claim that evangelical Christian and Baptist churches have begun to outnumber Russian Orthodox congregations. There are several other Protestant congregations, including Lutherans, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists. There is also a small Jewish community.

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