|State of Kuwait|
Area 17,818 sq.km. An oil-rich wedge of desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia at the northwest end of the Arabian Gulf.
The fluctuating expatriate community dramatically affects the size and composition of the population.
Capital Kuwait 1,300,000. Urbanites 97%.
Foreign Arab 24.6% (Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian).
Bidoun 6.4% . Stateless Arab refugees.
Non-Arab 32%. Filipino, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Western, several others.
Literacy 79%. Official language Arabic. All languages 3. Languages with Scriptures 1Bi 1por 1w.i.p.
The massive capital and petroleum reserves of this oil rich state were seriously damaged by the Iraqi invasion and Gulf War in 1990-91, but due to generous aid/loans, the oil is again being pumped out to the permitted OPEC limits. Warning signs: the budget deficit is ballooning, and 83% of the workforce is foreign. HDI 0.833; 35th/174. Public debt n/a. Income/person $20,470 (65% of USA).
Former British protectorate; became independent in 1961. Constitutional monarchy, but with the Amir and his family exercising quasi-autocratic control. Stuttering democratic progress since 1986. The 1990s were marked by politicized xenophobia due to the Iraqi invasion, suspicions of Kuwaiti-based Iraqi collaborators, and increasing Islamist agitation.
Sunni Islam is the state religion with a large Shi'a minority. Immigrant religious minorities are permitted some worship facilities. Diverse Christian community in a relatively liberal Islamic regime. Proselytizing Muslims is forbidden. Persecution index 20th in the world.
1 Since the Iraqi occupation, Kuwait has returned to stability and affluence. Materialism is rampant and public morals declining, but restrictions on Christianity still remain. Pray that the Kuwaiti leaders and people might become open to the Christian faith and not merely to godless Western values. Only a few hundred Kuwaitis are known to be believers.
2 Expatriate ethnic minorities. The Kuwaitis grudgingly accept foreigners to do most of their work for them. Few expatriates are permanent residents most are on short-term work contracts, and many have to leave their families in their homeland. Possibly more than a million people are in Kuwait on this basis, despite the widespread poor treatment of the foreign labour force.
a) The Palestinians and, to a lesser degree, the Egyptians, have a history of exemplary service in Kuwait, yet were discriminated against by those who see them as collaborators with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War. Most of the Christians among them are nominal. Pray that their low spiritual standards and poor treatment at the government's hands may be nullified by a work of the Holy Spirit, and that true believers may find many opportunities to share their faith in a meaningful way.
b) Asians are predominantly from South Asia and the Philippines, and are largely contract labourers or domestic servants. Increasing numbers live and work in difficult circumstances with incidents of violence and rape perpetrated upon the womem. Pray for God's grace upon both the believers and the unsaved in these ethnic minorities.
c) Middle Easterners. Most of the several ethnic groups represented are unreached, particularly the Iranians and the Bidoun, stateless Arabs adrift in the Middle East. Ask the Lord to shine His light of salvation upon them.
3 Expatriate Christians gained recognition for their prayer and relief aid during and after the Iraqi occupation. There are eight sites where churches publicly meet in Kuwait, two of which are Catholic. The National Evangelical Church has become an umbrella for 35 Christian communities, which meet on a former hospital compound. The majority of these are Indian, with some Arab. Main services are held in English, Arabic, Urdu and Malayali. Pray that believers may be granted full freedom of worship and witness and that their lives might commend the Lord Jesus as Saviour.
4 Many Kuwaitis travel to other lands as tourists, businessmen, and students, and a number have come to know Christ. Fear of reprisal often prevents them from returning home. Pray for wisdom and boldness for the converts, and a burden to reach their own people.
5 Christian literature is a strategic ministry to Kuwait. The UBS, a private book importer and the Catholic-run Bible Resource Centre all contribute to making the Scriptures available to all in Kuwait. They primarily serve the various Christian communities in Kuwait, but sales are remarkably high for such a small group!
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