MAID TO SUFFER – Re-Blog Y-Oman.com

Peanut Gallery: It’s been less than 50 years since slavery was abolished in Oman. But it’s much easier to change laws, than it is to change attitudes… as the following article illustrates.

Human trafficking is just another form of de facto slavery. The living conditions can be horrible and the treatment of servants/workers even worse… and this is in Oman who are the relative “good guys” in the Gulf region.

To their credit, they allowed this article to be published – remember that Oman is an absolute monarchy. And they are beginning to acknowledge and address this issue.

But condescending, exploitative attitudes towards non-Arab expats are hard to change. They are built into the Arab/Islamic mindset which dominates the region.

Note: 100 Omani Rials are worth 260 American Dollars.
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30 MAY 2013   POSTED BY Y

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Isolated and far from home with no one to turn to, the plight of Ethiopian domestic staff who came to Oman for a new life and end up trapped in a nightmare, is one that cannot be ignored, reports Kate Ginn.

She had arrived in Oman from a small town in a remote part of Ethiopia full of hope. Hope that she had secured a good job as a maid in a prosperous country and would be able to send money to her family back home. She believed this fortuitous break might herald some much-needed luck and that a brighter future now beckoned for her far away from the confines of her poverty-stricken African homeland.

Her lucky break was in fact being found still alive after being raped and violated by her sponsor and three of his friends and dumped like a piece of rubbish in the desert to die.

When some locals came across her, she was bleeding and barely conscious, having spentten days in the desert. Doctors said she only survived because of the unusual prolonged rainy conditions, another piece of luck.

Not having friends or family to turn to or any embassy to provide shelter, she was alone and helpless.

Without the kindness of strangers, she would have died. Even then, she was arrested and jailed for two months because her Omani sponsor had alerted police in the Interior that she was a ‘run-away’ or absconder.

Continue reading “MAID TO SUFFER – Re-Blog Y-Oman.com”

Please pray for Christians in Oman – World Watch List #22

OMAN (Wikipedia) – World Watch List #22 (Open Doors UK)

oman MAPPopulation: 2.9 million (35,000 Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Source of PersecutionIslamic extremism/dictatorial paranoia

The legal system names all citizens as Muslim and all legislation is based on Islamic law. Apostasy is not a criminal offence, but Omani converts face legal discrimination and could lose their family, job, or even their life if their faith is discovered. Almost the entire Christian population is expatriate; there are few indigenous Christians. All religious organisations must register and Christian meetings are monitored. Several foreign workers were deported in 2011 because of their Christian activities.

PLEASE PRAY:

  • That the few indigenous believers will find ways to meet for fellowship
  • Open evangelism is prohibited by law. Pray for wisdom for Christians sharing the gospel
  • Permission is needed from the authorities for the distribution of religious literature. Pray that God’s Word will spread through Christian TV and internet sites.

PERSECUTION DYNAMICS

Oman travelThere has been no visible change in recent years in the situation for Christians in Oman. Islam is the state religion and Sharia (Islamic law) forms the basis for legislation. The very concept of a change of faith for an Omani citizen is anathema. An Omani convert faces problems under the Personal Status and Family Legal Code, which prohibits a father from having custody of his children if he leaves Islam.

All religious organisations must register and Christian meetings are monitored for political messages and nationals who may be attending. Although no violent persecution has been reported, there have been deportations of expat Christians in the past. This was primarily because of their open witness, which is prohibited by law. Permission is needed from the authorities for the distribution of religious literature also.

Oman BazzaarTOP TEN – things to know about what life is like for Christians in Oman

  1. The law prohibits religious discrimination but all religious organizations must register.
  2. All public school curriculums (grades K-12) include instruction in Islam.
  3. Almost the entire Christian population (around 35,000) is made up of expatriates; indigenous Christians number only a few hundred.
  4. Foreign Christians are often tolerated and allowed to worship in private homes or work compounds.
  5. The government records religious affiliation on national identity cards for citizens and on residency cards for non-citizens.
  6. Muslim Background Believers risk persecution from family and society, but the government may intervene on request from the family. In such cases, these believers are often treated as psychiatric patients.
  7. Muslim Background Believers can lose their family, house, and job and can even be killed.
  8. There are some government limitations on proselytizing and printing religious material. Non-Muslim groups are prohibited from publishing religious material, although non-Muslim religious material printed abroad may be imported after government inspection and approval.
  9. The Protestant Church in Oman (PCO) is the fruit of the active presence of RCA, a branch of the Reformed Church of America (RCA), which started its work in Oman in 1893.
  10. Currently PCO, under the combined leadership of the Reformed Church of America and the Anglican Church, ministers to over 1000 believers from 60 countries.

Indonesian Christians Singing at PCO (Protestant Church in Oman)
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Oman: Illegitimate children need love and acceptance

Peanut Gallery: My purpose in re posting this article is not to criticize the Sultanate of Oman but to commend it for it’s willingness to address the sensitive issue of illegitimacy in the Muslim world.

Oman is perhaps the most tolerant regime in the region due to its Ibadhi Muslim heritage and the benevolent guidance of its Sultan. That’s why this subject can be broached at all.

Nevertheless, the status of illegitimate children in the Muslim world is very difficult, as you will see below.

What they need most is love… and the clear understanding that they are created in the “image of God“- with intrinsic dignity and value and with a future and hope prepared for them by God.
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Illegitimacy in Oman – children need love and acceptance

Muscat: Society continues to look down upon children who were born out of wedlock, as some claim these children are seeds of the devil since they were born outside of marriage. In fact, a large part of society displays prejudice towards such children, refusing to allow their own children to socialize with or, especially, marry them.

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The issue of children born outside of marriage remains a sensitive subject in the region, and the issue is rarely addressed in the media, at seminars or by public organizations.

In Oman, however, such children have recently appealed to the community and the government to recognize them and involve them in the community, as all Omanis are.

Uncertain future Huda (not her real name), 12 years old, said that illegitimate children should not carry the burden of guilt because of the mistakes made by two persons from within the general community.

Huda said she, as well as other children seen as being illegitimate, is forced to remain uncertain about their future.
Continue reading “Oman: Illegitimate children need love and acceptance”

Oman: Waking up too | The Economist

Peanut Gallery: This article gives a good overview of the challenges facing Oman in the future – government succession and diminishing oil revenue. However it does not recount the amazing forward leap into the 21st century that Oman has made under the wise leadership of Sultan Qaboos. While there certainly is censorship of government criticism, Sultan Qaboos rightly deserves and receives the respect and admiration of the Omani people. Western democracies would be well served by statesmen like the Sultan.

Oman: Waking up too | The Economist.

Oman: Waking up too
Even placid Oman is being buffeted by the Arab winds of change
Jun 23rd 2012 | MUSCAT | from the print edition

IT HAS been described as the world’s most charming police state. Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos, who overthrew his father in 1970, now stands out as easily the longest-serving ruler in the Middle East, and perhaps as the world’s only absolute monarch not to have a publicly designated successor. A few reforms have got under way since strikes and protests hit the country last year. But with most power still in the sultan’s hands, questions about the future have begun to loom. The calm is now being challenged, albeit still a lot less fiercely than elsewhere in the Arab world. Continue reading “Oman: Waking up too | The Economist”

Oman: This is my story, this is my song….

Peanut Gallery: Today I was reading about my life’s mission – “to reach one more for Jesus.” The scripture passage was the Great Commission (Matthew 28.18-20 ESV) –

Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I also read a blog about a mother’s pride & delight in her child that has just turned 25. And then I began to think of my own kids… their birth, the joy they have brought Barbara and me, and their personal witness to Jesus Christ in their daily lives as spouses, parents and self-sufficient Christian adults.

That’s when I ran across this on Facebook – my son playing background guitar (first on left) with an “all nations” Christian group… in Oman.

I couldn’t be prouder of him.

The song: “Befriended” by Matt Redman – see words below –

“Befriended” by Matt Redman

Befriended, befriended by the King above all kings
Surrendered, surrendered to the friend above all friends

Invited, invited deep into this mystery
Delighted, delighted by the wonders I have seen

Chorus:
This will be my story
This will be my song
You’ll always be my Saviour, Jesus
You will always have my heart

Astounded, astounded that Your gospel beckoned me
Surrounded, surrounded but I’ve never been so free

Determined, determined now to live this life for You
Your so worthy my greatest gift would be the least You’re due