Religions in Mongolia

In Religions in Mongolia page, I decided to put excerpts from the International Religious Freedom Report 2008 released on Sept 19, 2008. This will give you a good picture on religions in Mongolia. Also, enjoy the movie about Amarbaysgalant Temple (it is in Mongolian!).

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International Religious Freedom Report 2008
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion. However, the law limits proselytizing.

Section I. Religious Demography - Religions in Mongolia The country has an area of 604,247 square miles and a population of 2.9 million. Buddhism and the country's cultural traditions are closely linked. When government controls on religion and on traditional practices ended in 1990, there was an increase in Buddhist activity. Local scholars claim that more than 90 percent of all citizens ascribe to some form of Buddhism, although practice varies widely. Lamaist Buddhism of the Tibetan variety is the traditional and dominant religion.

Ethnic Kazakhs, most of whom are Muslim, are the largest ethnic minority, constituting approximately 6 percent of the population nationwide and 80 percent in the western province of Bayan-Olgiy. Muslims operate approximately 40 mosques in Bayan-Olgiy and 4 Islamic centers in Ulaanbaatar, serving nearly 3,000 students combined. The mosques and Islamic centers receive financial assistance from religious organizations in Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the Gulf States.

There is a small but growing number of Christians. Church officials estimate that more than 4 percent of the population practice Christianity, of which an estimated 90 percent are Protestant and 9 percent are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Roman Catholics and members of the Russian Orthodox Church together account for the remaining 1 percent.

Some citizens practice shamanism, often in tandem with another religion, but there are no reliable statistics on their number.Throughout the country, there were 432 registered places of worship, 217 of which were Buddhist, 161 were Christian, 44 were Muslim, and 5 each were Baha'i and shamanistic.

During the period covered by this report, the Ministry registered 18 churches, 20 mosques, and 3 shaman temples. Evangelical Christians estimated that there were 250 unregistered evangelical churches throughout the country.


Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Although there is no state religion, many government officials are Buddhists who believe that Buddhism is the "natural religion" of the country. The Government contributed to the restoration of several Buddhist sites that are important religious, historical, and cultural centers. The Government did not otherwise subsidize Buddhist or any other religious groups.

Religious visas are not granted.Religious instruction is not permitted in public schools. Buddhist schools may receive public funding for teaching the standard curriculum to students; however, expenses for religious and special subjects must be covered by other sources.

Restrictions on Religious FreedomBoth the preliminary registration and annual renewal process are burdensome for religious groups. The length of time needed, and documentation required, to complete the process serve as a disincentive for some organizations from applying. Christian groups reported that local officials stated there were "too many" churches or that there should at least be parity in the registration of new Buddhist temples and new Christian churches.

During an immigration crackdown in October 2007, a number of foreigners were taken to police stations for long periods of questioning because they were not carrying their passports when the police stopped them. Expatriates from Asian countries received particular scrutiny, and many believed that the Government used the immigration crackdown as a pretext to "crack down" on Christianity.

Section III. Societal Abuses and Discrimination of Religions in Mongolia

There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice during the period covered by this report. Citizens were generally tolerant of the beliefs of others; however, there was friction between Christians, particularly foreign Christians, and non-Christian citizens in some areas.

Released on September 19, 2008. Please, go to full report on religions in Mongolia

The main Religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shintoism. Here is a page on Japanese Buddhism where you can learn about it and ask questions on the subject.