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10 Facts About Kuwait Christians From History to Everyday Life

Monday, 11 May 2015 12:46 PM

Kuwait is situated in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. An oil rich country, it has great material wealth and a small population of less than 3 million people. Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces in the 1990s in a situation that led to the first Gulf War.

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Here are 10 facts about Christians in Kuwait:

1. There are over 400,000 Christians in Kuwait and they consist of nearly 18 percent of the total population.

2. Kuwait ranks at No. 50 on the World Watch List of countries where Christians face persecution, the lowest ranking possible, according to the UK-based human rights organization Open Doors.

3. Christians in Kuwait can be citizens of the country too, one of only two states in the Gulf region to allow non-Muslims take up citizenship, Bahrain being the other.

4. The main Christian denominations in Kuwait are Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and other Protestant churches.

5. The largest Christian church following in Kuwait is Roman Catholic, with about 75,000 members followed by the Coptic Orthodox, with over 40,000 practitioners, according to RefWorld, a website for UNHCR, a United Nations agency devoted to helping refuges.

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6. Christians in Kuwait are allowed to worship freely within their church areas and face little if any government interference. Officials have reported government support even by providing security and traffic direction at busy periods, according to RefWorld.

7. The first Kuwait Christian citizen to be ordained is the Rev. Amanuel Benjamin Ghareeb, who became a pastor on Jan. 8, 1999, according to the Arab Times.

8. Earliest Christian activity in Kuwait can be traced to a community established on Failaka Island off the coast of Kuwait City between the eighth and ninth centuries. Christians are believed to have thrived there in a time when Islam was becoming the dominant religion of the area.

9. Modern Christian history in Kuwait began in the early 1900s with the establishment of a mission by the Reformed Church of America, which opened the first medical clinics, the most notable known as The American Hospital.

10. Christian numbers in Kuwait grew by about 6 percent, year per year, between 2005 and 2010.

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