This week we’re praying for Christians living in countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Persecution of Christians in the Gulf takes many forms and is seen on a daily basis. In some Gulf countries such as United Arab Emirate and Oman, Christian migrants are tolerated and allowed to worship in designated buildings. However, across the whole of the Gulf, believers from a Muslim background (BMB’s) are constantly monitored and persecuted for their faith. In the Gulf evangelising and conversion to another faith is illegal which can mean a prison sentence and sometimes even death.
Although being a Christian migrant is difficult in the Gulf, the lives of BMB’s are much harder. A citizen’s ability to find out information about other faiths is extremely difficult due to the restrictions on media and educational facilities. In Saudi Arabia, the education system teaches exclusively about Islam and describes Christians as nonbelievers with whom you should have no interactions. This propels the belief that Christianity is only a Western religion and not for Arabs.
For Arabs who do find out about Christianity and seek further information, they face yet another hurdle. Being able to access quality Christian information in Arabic is extremely hard and it is made harder by restrictions on the internet and media. For Arabs who do commit their lives to Christ, they live in constant fear of discovery. It is illegal in the Gulf to convert to another religion. If found, they can be put in prison. Physical and verbal attacks are common for BMB’s and some are killed by family members in the guise of maintaining the families honour. As a minimum, family will disown them to avoid shame being passed on to the family as a whole. In Middle Eastern countries this has far greater consequences then they may do in the West. In the Gulf, children will live with their parents until they are married and often after. Work is closely linked with family connections as well. If your family disown you, it will often mean a loss of home and job as people do not want to be associated with Christians due to fear of reprisal on themselves. Women are even more vulnerable due to their reliance of support and protection coming from family.
Becoming a Christian in the Gulf takes great courage and faith in the Almighty. We support BMB’s in the Gulf through many different projects but particularly through our project Got It!. Got It! is a series of 1-2-minute animated clips explaining Christian topics which are typically misunderstood in Islamic countries. We have covered topics such as the trinity, sin, and destiny. These help to breakdown misconceptions of Christianity, get viewers curious, and help to grow the understanding of Christians who have minimal access to quality Christian content.
People within the Gulf, whether they are Muslims, have questions about Christianity or are Christians, need our prayer. Please join us in prayer for them this week.
Please join us in praying that:
BMB’s who are forced to hide their faith, due to threats on their lives, would find strength in the Lord.
Muslims who do not have access to information about Christianity would find our media and animations online and on TV, and become curious to know more.
Those who have questions would have them answered and they would find a safe community of Christians to find fellowship and discuss Christianity further.
Governments in the region would be open to religious freedom and allow Christianity to be practiced.