How many Christians are there in Oman?
There are a little under 200,000 Christians in Oman, which is four per cent of the country’s Muslim-majority population. Most of these believers are migrant workers from other countries.
How are Christians persecuted in Oman?
Like other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, the extent to which Christians in Oman are persecuted depends mostly on status and nationality.
Converts from Islam encounter the greatest opposition, both from families and wider society. A key factor here is the law. For example, a man who converts to Christianity is prohibited from retaining their paternal rights, whilst a woman convert is legally restricted from marrying a non-Muslim. Other consequences include disinheritance, forced marriage and loss of employment.
Foreign Muslims (mostly migrant workers) who convert to Christianity typically experience the same pressure they would in their home countries – which could mean relative freedom for some, but intense persecution for others.
Immigrant Christian communities are mostly tolerated, but they do experience restrictions and surveillance. Proselytising is illegal. Christians active in evangelism have been put under pressure to leave the country.
What’s life like for Christians in Oman?
Very difficult – and over the past year it’s got harder.
Omani society is still very tribal, meaning converts to Christianity from Islam are viewed as traitors to their families and tribes. This reality is mores stark in rural areas, while in urban areas some converts can live more anonymously.
Further pressure comes from the government. This is because Islam is the state religion in Oman and forms the basis of legislation.
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Oman?
Yes. The country has risen eight spots in this year's World Watch List. This is largely down to the government intensifying its monitoring of Christians, especially those who’ve converted from Islam, and cracking down on evangelistic activities. Several Christians have been forced to leave the country.
How can I help Christians in the Arabian Peninsula?
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 church on the Arabian Peninsula by organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources, and training believers and pastors.
Heavenly Father, keep in safety all those vulnerable to persecution. Give them strength, encouragement and boldness in the face of hostility, and provide where they’ve encountered loss. Make our brothers and sisters fruitful in the land of their suffering (Genesis 41:52). Lead Your people to those spiritually searching, and help those considering Christianity to make that step of faith in You. May the Sultan – who is also the Prime Minister – come to know You. Amen.