Friday, November 8
Royal dhow in Mutrah Harbor, Oman
Taken together, the seven nations of the Arabian Peninsula—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen—have an importance for world peace and prosperity that far outweighs their population (which is about 85,000,000) or their combined gross national products (about $1.2 trillion, which is about two-thirds that of the state of California).
Except for Oman, where the majority of the population are Ibadhi Muslims, and Bahrain, where 85 percent of the population is Shi’a Muslim, the great majority of the indigenous inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula are Sunni Muslims. Egyptian, Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese Christians, many of whom are medical doctors or teachers, live in every country on the peninsula. A large number of South Asians, Europeans, and North Americans also live and work in the seven countries of the Arabian Peninsula.
Al Qaida remains a threat in Yemen, in spite of the resignation of Yemen’s longtime president. In Bahrain, there is no threat from Al Qaida, but there are tensions between large elements of the Shi’a majority and the Muslim elites.
The first missionaries from the United States went to Oman, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in 1890. Those missionaries, Peter Zwemer and James Cantine, were the first in a long sequence of pastors, educators, and physicians sent by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) to the Arabian Peninsula. The Al Amana Center in Muscat, Oman, directed by an RCA worker who graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, offers Christian college and seminary students from the United States a chance to meet with and learn from Muslims.
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Merciful God, you have made us into nations and tribes that we may cherish one another. Take the hatred from our hearts so that all the “People of the Book” (Christians, Jews, and Muslims) may live in peace and justice. Amen.