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10 Facts About Oman Christians From History to Everyday Life

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 12:04 PM

Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. Until the 1970s it was the most isolated country in the region living under the strict rule of Sultan Said bin Taimur. When his son took over the running of the country, he opened up the country, boosted by the spending of the revenue from oil.

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Some facts on Christians living in Oman are:

1. There are over 120,000 Christians in Oman making up over 4 percent of the total population.

2. Oman ranks at 39 in the World Watch List of countries in the world where Christians face persecution, according to UK-based Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians worldwide.

3. Over 98 percent of Christians living in Oman are not citizens but foreigners, working mainly in the urban areas around cities of the coast.

4. The Christian communities living in the urban areas of Oman are mainly Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and various other denominations, such as the Protestant Churches of Oman.

5. There are more than 60 active Christian groups and assemblies in the capital Muscat, according to a brief prepared by the U.S. State Department.

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6. All religious organizations must register with the Oman government. For Christians, the government recognizes the Protestant Church of Oman, the Catholic Diocese of Oman, and the Al Amana Centre as official sponsors of the faith, according to the State Department..

7. Christians in Oman can only practice their religion on land approved by the Sultan for collective worship. Groups may not gather in private homes or elsewhere to pray or carry out services.

8. Christianity is thought to have arrived in Oman during the fifth century with evidence of a church ruins in Sohar.

9. Unlike other Gulf countries, it is not an offence for a Muslim to convert to Christianity in Oman, though it can be very difficult for those who convert to live under the law and they stand to lose everything, according to Open Doors.

10. The American Mission to Oman arrived in 1895. It developed into the Protestant Church of Oman, and is the only protestant church recognized by the state authorities.

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