Central Asia

kazakhstan kyrgyzstan tajikistan turkmenistan uzbekistan
Khazakstan Kyrgystan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

Central Asia refers to the region bounded by the Caspian Sea to the west, China to the east, Russia to the North, and Afghanistan to the south. Because the Silk Road travelled through this region, Central Asia was historically a crossroads for the movement of people and goods between Europe and Asia.

Much of the geography of Central Asia is dominated by “steppes” (areas of grassland too arid to support tree growth), but there are also high mountain passes and deserts. For many hundreds of years, the region was inhabited mostly by nomadic tribes. The militaristic steppe horse nomads dominated this region until the invention of the firearm which allowed settled peoples to gain control. Except for a few more modern cities, Central Asian countries today are still highly rural. Today, the languages and culture of most Central Asians has its roots in Turkic (an ancient people group).

Islam is the dominant religion in Central Asia, most being Sunni Muslims. While the level of Islamic fundamentalism varies from country to country, most Central Asian countries have slowly seen a resurgence of interest in Islam and it’s teachings since the fall of communism. There is much controversy in these countries regarding how much of a role Islam (or any religion) should play in the secular or political arena. In some countries, the government strictly controls religious leaders of all sects and religions, including Christianity, and in some cases, prohibits proselytizing of any kind in an attempt to remove any basis for Islam to play a part in the public arena.
 
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For more information on Central Asia visit:

  1. http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=Central_Asia
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Central_Asia
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