The Turkmen government has decided to remove the requirement to pass an exam in knowledge of Ruhnama from secondary schools, the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights reports.
Ruhnama (the Book of the Soul) is the state cult book promulgated by past dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, and helped cement his cult of personality. The book was a mixture of religious and folklore teachings sprinkled with fantastic claims about the Turkmen people, such as that they were the first to harvest grain.
Niyazov offended Muslim clerics by having an inscription about Ruhnama carved into the Gypjak Mosque, the largest in Central Asia. One leader who refused to place Ruhnama on the same stand as the Koran was interrogated by security police, Forum 18 News Service reported.
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