Arslanbek Maliyev grew disillusioned with Islam when he realized foreign missionaries who came to Kyrgyzstan following the collapse of the Soviet Union were more concerned with building mosques than they were with education.
Perceptions of corruption penetrate just about every aspect of life in Kyrgyzstan, including the spiritual side. For years, the Hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca required of every able Muslim – has been beset by allegations of graft involving those responsible for distributing the limited number of places.
A growing number of Georgians are turning to yoga to shake off the stress of daily life. But their quest for inner calm and smaller waists is generating hostility from the powerful Georgian Orthodox Church.
Thirty-seven-year-old Rusudan Gotsiridze is not a man with a beard, and never wears a skufia, a traditional Christian vestment. Nonetheless, she is an ordained bishop living in Georgia, a country where, for nearly 1,700 years, the priesthood was an exclusively male domain.
When it comes to spiritual matters in Central Asia, the Russian Orthodox Church is having trouble competing. The church’s experiences in Kyrgyzstan highlight how it is losing ground to evangelical Christianity.
With the opening of Turkey’s parliament on October 1 and the start of work on replacing the country’s constitution, members of the country’s religious minority groups are hoping that years of institutional and legal discrimination will come to an end in the not-too-distant future.
The Tajik authorities have announced that the price of the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this year has risen to $3,348, payable in dollars only, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Mavlon Mukhtorov, a deputy chairman of Tajikistan's State Committee for Religious Affairs, told RFE/RL that this year the price of the hajj to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina had increased by $267 per person.
A dispute over efforts to strengthen the legal rights of minority religions has opened a new fault line in Georgia’s fractured political landscape. It is also helping to define the limits of the governing United National Movement’s influence.