Religion and Belief Patterns
The anti-religion purges of the Soviet period largely succeeded in eliminating public manifestations of religion in Turkmenistan. They made little headway, however, in suppressing private rituals and belief patterns. Now, public religio us observances are allowed again and, within limits, encouraged. While stressing its secular nature, the present Turkmen Government has sponsored the building of mosques and the opening of religious schools and has called for Islamic principles to be included in the state schools’ curriculum. Although most Turkmens identify themselves as Sunni Muslims, their overall belief patterns are influenced not only by Islam but also by elements of Zoroastrianism, the Turkmen Common Law, and beliefs predating both of these.