|The State of Bahrain|
Area 691 sq.km. A group of one larger and 34 smaller barren islands in the Arabian Gulf between the Qatar peninsula and Saudi Arabian mainland - linked to the latter by a causeway.
Capital Manama 376,456. Urbanites 90%.
Arab 65.4%.Bahraini 380,000;Other Arab (Saudi, Palestinian, Egyptian, etc.) 25,000.
Iranian 12% Farsi, Kurds, etc..
South Asian 13%. Indian (Malayali, Tamil, Telugu, etc.) Pakistani 30,000.
Other Asian 6.4%. Filipino, Korean, etc.
European 2%. UK 7,000; USA 3,500.
Literacy 85%. Official language Arabic.
Diversification from oil production to oil refining, aluminium (the world's largest smelter) manufacturing and banking. Nearly half the labour force is foreign. HDI 0.832; 37th/174. Public debt 62% of GNP. Income/person $8,330 (27% of USA).
British Protectorate until 1971. Absolute monarchy between 1975 and 2001. The Amir ruled with the help of an appointed Cabinet and Consultative Council. Every attempt at political expression by the disenfranchised Shi'a majority was vigorously repressed. In 2001 the new Amir committed the country to a constitutional monarchy and democratic government to be instituted in 2003.
Islam is the official religion, and all Bahrainis are considered Muslim. No evangelism among them is permitted. The ruling elite are Sunni Muslims, but 61% of the population are Shi'a. Expatriate Christians are free to worship together.
1 Bahrain is a political and spiritual key for the whole Gulf area - more so since the Gulf War in 1991. Islam impacts life less comprehensively than in surrounding states. Pray that democratic and religious freedoms might be fully implemented.
2 Bahrain has provided a good base for Christian ministry for over a century. The American Mission Hospital is well known and highly regarded. Pray that this may continue and that there may be fruit from the tactful witness of believers.
4 Amongst the large expatriate community, predominantly from South and East Asia and also the West, are a considerable number of active Christians meeting formally and informally. Pray that individuals may have courage and wisdom to share their faith outside their own cultural group.
5 The labour force of nearly 200,000 is 58% expatriate, and drawn from 45 nations. Amid the prevailing concern for material things, pray that Christians within some of these national groups may win people for Christ. The less evangelized of these expatriate communities are the Iranians, Hindus and Muslims from India and Pakistan. Nearly half the congregations and house groups are Indian.
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