World Watch: 31

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said

How many Christians?
196,000 (3.6%)

Main threats
  • Islamic oppression
  • Clan oppression

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How many Christians are there in Oman?

There are around 196,000 Christians in Oman, which is about 3.6% of the country’s Muslim-majority population. Most of these believers are migrant workers from other countries.

How are Christians persecuted in Oman?

Converts from Islam to Christianity face pressure from family and society to recant their new faith – in part, because of Oman’s strong clan mentality. This can include physical, mental and emotional abuse, job loss, family expulsion, disinheritance and losing custody of their children. Converts are likely to be socially ostracised and lose the financial support of their family, as well as the necessary connections to find a job. Most Omani converts therefore keep their new faith hidden. 

Since most Omanis practise a moderately conservative form of Islam, which tends to be more tolerant towards other beliefs, there is less pressure on believers who haven’t converted from Islam. Expatriate Christians can enjoy considerable freedom in Oman, as long as they avoid sharing their faith with Muslims. 

Despite the freedom given to expatriates, there are caveats. As part of the government’s tight control of public life, all religious organisations must be registered with the authorities. Church services are strictly monitored to record any political statements and if any Omani nationals are attending, and evangelistic activities among Muslims are forbidden. The online activities of both Christians and churches can also come under the scrutiny of the authorities.

What’s life like for Christians in Oman?

Oman is an ultra-conservative society, where fathers, husbands and male guardians exert significant control over the lives of women and girls. Since they have little voice in Omani society, women are not expected to have their own religious beliefs. As such, it is extremely difficult for women to convert from Islam to Christianity and any woman who decides to become a Christian is at risk of persecution. Converts could possibly be isolated from other Christians, stripped of all means of communication and even kept within the family home. Unmarried converts may also be put under pressure to marry a Muslim to try to force them to return to Islam. Converts to Christianity cannot marry a Christian, as women registered as Muslims are legally restricted from marrying a non-Muslim. 

Oman’s government continued to strictly monitor and keep a tight grip on the Christian community in the country, especially Omani believers who converted from Islam, and expatriate Christians involved with the convert community. This has led to several incidents during the past year.

Is it getting easier to be a Christian in Oman?

Oman has risen 16 places on the World Watch List this year. This is largely due to an increase in the number of incidents of violent persecution against Christians, and greater pressure faced by believers as they try to attend church.

How can I help Christians in Oman?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Oman. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

Open Doors supports the body of Christ on the Arabian Peninsula by organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources, and training believers and pastors.

please pray

Lord Jesus, thank You for the relative freedom given to foreign Christians in Oman, and that church services are drawing people in. Use their influence to lead others to You and soften the hearts of the authorities towards the wider Christian population. Strengthen all believers who under pressure for knowing You – may they feel Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, empowering them to stand strong and even boldly share their faith with others. Guard Your people from harm and give Your children wisdom as they navigate opposition from their communities. Grow Your church in Oman, we pray. Amen.


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