Bahrain
The State of Bahrain
February 23
Asia


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GEOGRAPHY

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.

Population Ann. Gr. Density
2000 617,217 +2.05% 893 per sq. km.
2010 713,145 +1.35% 1,032 per sq.km.
2025 858,368 +1.11% 1,242 per sq.km.

Capital Manama 376,456. Urbanites 90%.

PEOPLES

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.

Other 1.2%.

Literacy 85%. Official language Arabic.

ECONOMY

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).

POLITICS

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.

RELIGION

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.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann. Gr.
Muslim 82.31 508,031 +2.1%
Christian 10.36 63,944 +3.4%
Hindu 6.25 38,576 -0.7%
non-Religious/other 0.69 4,259 +0.6%
Baha'i 0.22 1,358 +3.1%
Jewish 0.10 617 +2.1%
Buddhist 0.07 432 +8.6%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 5 0.82 5 +3.4%
Independent 20 2.29 14 +6.2%
Anglican 1 0.49 3 +0.3%
Catholic 2 4.05 25 +1.9%
Orthodox 2 0.36 2 +0.0%
Marginal 1 0.01 0 +9.1%
Unaffiliated   2.34 15 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 11 5,750 23,000
Anglican A 10 1,796 3,000
Coptic Orthodox O 1 800 2,000
National Evang P 21 1,138 1,900
Pentecostal groups [6] I 9 450 900
Other denoms [21]   59 7,105 18,679
Total Christians [31]   111 17,039 49,479

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 3.1 19 +5.1%
Charismatic 2.4 15 +3.6%
  Pentecostal 1.3 8 +4.0%

Expatriates to Bahrain
P,I,A 45 from 5 countries.


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Challenges for Prayer

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.

3 The largest Arab Christian community in the Gulf states is here - most being expatriate. There are several informal networks of these believers. Pray for them and their witness.

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.

6 Media Ministries:

a) Christian Radio. FEBA Radio broadcasts 14 hrs/week in Arabic from Seychelles and is developing a specialized simple English service. TWR also broadcasts from Cyprus.

b) Christian literature. The Christian bookstore in Manama is well visited and has a Gulf-wide distribution.

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