Bahrain

Flag of Bahrain

Manama financial district skyline

Country Bahrain     (Link to the map of Bahrain.)
Continent Asia
Capital Manama
Population 1,346,613 (July 2015) (most live in Manama)
Language Arabic
Religion Islam (70%): While a majority Shia population, leadership is Sunni.
Terrain Archipelago  of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf. It is mostly low desert plain rising gently to central escarpment
Sports Soccer, basketball, volleyball and handball – and a famous Formula 1 Grand Prix in January that draws an international audience
Animals Animal species in Bahrain are limited by the desert climate.

The Goitered Gazelle is a deer-like animal that can live in the climate. They get their name because the male’s throat and neck swell during mating season. They weigh between 40-75 pounds and live 10-12 years. They are at high-risk of extinction.

The Golden Jackal also lives in Bahrain. They are monogamous animals that live and hunt in pairs until one of them dies. They feed on lizards and rodents that live in the deserts of Bahrain.

Facts of Interest Bahrain is the site of the ancient Dilmun civilization. Since antiquity, Bahrain is famous for its pearl fisheries which were considered the best in the world until the 19th century.

Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam.

Bahrain was briefly occupied by Portugal (1521), and then by Persia (Iran; 621 AD), at which time the population converted to Shiite Muslim sect.

The government is a constitutional monarchy with an upper and lower house, plus a prime minister but the real power is in the King. Arab Spring demonstrations were put down brutally in 2011 and there are no real lasting impacts or improvements for Shiites as a result.

The economy is dependent on oil and Bahrain has been less successful than Qatar, for example, in diversifying its economy with tourism, etc.

Concerns Bahrain is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Domestic laborers are particularly vulnerable because labors laws do not protect them. Bahrain is making an effort, but they do not yet meet minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

There have been sustained protests and unrest since 2011, inspired by the Arab Spring, particularly among the majority Shia population.

Mission The Presbyterian Church in not currently working in Bahrain, but our partners at the Reformed Church of America are. The Al Raja School is education 630 students, almost all of whom are Muslim, but there are a small number of Christian students.

The RCA missionaries founded a hospital nearly 100 years ago that is still in operation today.

Sources CIA https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ba.html; Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_in_Bahrain;  Animals in Bahrain http://www.listofcountriesoftheworld.com/ba-animals.html; Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain; RCA-Reformed Church in America. https://www.rca.org/search/site/bahrain?f%5B0%5D=bundle%3AresourceWashington; Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/12/01/electoral-rules-and-threats-cure-bahrains-sectarian-parliament/