36

Oman

Oman

World Watch List Rank36
World Watch List Score66.06/100
Last year’s rank44
Persecution TypeIslamic oppression (Strong), Clan oppression (Strong), Dictatorial paranoia (Medium)
LeaderSultan and Prime Minister Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said
Population5,270,000
Christians190,000 (3.6%) Data source: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds, World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021)
Main ReligionIslam
GovernmentAbsolute Monarchy
RegionMiddle East North Africa
Persecution LevelVery High Persecution

Similar to other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, the experience of Christians in Oman may vary depending on their status and nationality. Omani nationals who convert from Islam to Christianity encounter the highest levels of pressure from both their families and their surrounding society. Omani believers may be kicked out of their family homes and lose their jobs. They can lose custody of their children and be stripped of their inheritance.

Men who convert to Christianity in Oman are likely to lose the financial support of their families, as well as the necessary connections to find or maintain a job in Oman’s network-based society. One of the first ways of exerting pressure on women converts is to isolate them from other Christians, stripping them of all means of communication and keeping them within the family home.

Foreign Muslims (mostly migrant workers) who convert to Christianity usually experience the same pressure they would in their home countries—so for some converts, it can mean immense persecution, while others experience relative freedom. Meanwhile, expatriate Christian communities are mostly tolerated, but church facilities are restricted and Christian meetings are monitored to record any political statements—and to see if any Omani nationals are attending. All religious organizations must be registered with the authorities.

What changed this year?

Oman rose eight spots on this year’s World Watch List. Christians, especially converts from Islam to Christianity, came under higher pressure after the Omani government intensified its monitoring of Christians and their activities. Additionally, violence rose in Oman as several Christians were forced to leave the country. Life for any Muslim convert in Oman is likely to be extremely difficult.

How we help

Open Doors raises prayer support for Christians and churches in Oman.

PRAY FOR OMAN

  • Pray that believers will find a community of faith and know they aren’t alone
  • When an Omani Muslim finds Jesus, it could cost him or her everything. Pray that God would protect them and help them grow in faith.