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Kuwait Facts

Score:62/ 100
Region:Middle East
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:4,249,000
Christians:512,000
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Constitutional monarchy
Leader:Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Profile of Persecution

Violence 4%
Church Life 80%
National Life 69%
Community Life 60%
Family Life 79%
Private Life 79%

Restrictions and pressure for converts

There are very few church buildings registered for worship in Kuwait, and it is also difficult to obtain new buildings approved for this purpose. Converts from Islam face pressure from both family members and the local community to recant their Christian faith. Conversion from Islam to another faith is not officially recognized and is likely to lead to legal problems in personal status and property matters. Evangelism is strictly forbidden, as is Christian education and religious literature that is considered offensive to Islam.

How Christians are suffering

Expatriate Christians in Kuwait are relatively free to worship informally. However, the number and size of registered places of worship are not sufficient for the number of people who wish to attend church. Because it’s so difficult to obtain property for gatherings, the management of overstretched church buildings sometimes leads to arguments between different Christian groups.

Those who leave Islam to follow Christ face the most persecution, as they endure pressure from both family members and the local community to recant their Christian faith. They risk discrimination, harassment, police monitoring of their activities, and all sorts of intimidation by vigilante groups.

Examples

The government requires Islamic religious instruction for all Muslim pupils in state and private schools. In contrast, teaching Christianity in public schools is prohibited, even to legally recognized Christian groups. More broadly, Christians live under many restrictions. According to Amnesty International, “The authorities continued to unduly restrict the right to freedom of expression, prosecuting and imprisoning government critics and online activists under penal code provisions that criminalized comments deemed offensive to the Emir or damaging to relations with neighboring states.”

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Kuwait

  • Some Christians had to relocate inside the country due to pressure from society. Pray these believers are able to find fellowship, housing and jobs to settle into their new homes.
  • Kuwaiti society remains conservative and thus produces an environment quite hostile to Christians. The government is likely to allow this to continue (so long as it does not feel challenged in its administration of power) in order to appease the radical Islamic groups. Pray laws would change to support people practicing different religions.
  • Kuwaiti Christians (mostly converts from Islam to Christianity) have been interrogated by government officials, commanded to stop meeting, and have faced threats of losing their jobs and homes. Pray believers have the courage and fortitude to stand firm in their faith.

Stories from Kuwait

May 19, 2020

Don’t waste COVID-19: Lessons from believers in the Arabian Peninsula

Christians in the West have had to discover how to worship God in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. But for believers in the Arabian Peninsula, being a secret Christian is nothing new. Read More

+ READ MORE

March 6, 2020

A ‘living death’: How Christian women experience persecution

A new 2020 Open Doors in-depth report focusing on gendered persecution surfaces some disturbing realities for Christian women and girls in the top 50 countries where women are highly persecuted for their decision to follow Jesus. Read More

+ READ MORE

January 15, 2020

Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More

+ READ MORE

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