The Sunni / Shi'ite conflict has increased
Christians in Bahrain are asking us to pray for:
Bahrain means "two bodies of water": the salt water ocean surrounding the 30 plus islands is one body of water, and the other is the fresh water from underground rivers from Saudi Arabia that used to spring up in the various oases in Bahrain and even in the ocean offshore. Because of its location in the center of Gulf shipping, Bahrain has been cosmopolitan and free-thinking for centuries.
Bahrain was a British protectorate for 100 plus years before regaining its independence in 1971. In the 1890s, Samuel Zwemer and the Arabian/American Mission entered Bahrain, building the first hospital and school in the Gulf.
Oil was first discovered in the Arabian Gulf in Bahrain, and Bahrain will be the first to run out of oil. Along with Oman, Bahrain is one of the relatively poor Gulf countries, with problems providing enough good jobs for its people. However, Bahrain has diversified from oil into banking, aluminum and tourism. Bahrain has also been connected by a causeway to Eastern Saudi Arabia since 1986. Great numbers of Saudis along with Kuwaitis drive to Bahrain on weekends and holidays because of greater personal freedom.
Political unrest in Bahrain has re-emerged as a part of the “Arab Spring” in 2011. Many Bahrainis (including the majority Shi’ites) are frustrated by unemployment and the lack of political development over the last decade by the Sunni royal family, and want the Prime Minister to step down.
Bahrain is an oasis of freedom compared to the other Gulf countries which are much more restrictive. As a Muslim country, open evangelism is not allowed, but Christians can worship and have a significant degree of freedom to serve God and the people in Bahrain.