There are 513,000 Christians in Kuwait – they make up 11.9 per cent of the total population.
What does persecution look like in Kuwait?
In Kuwait, expatriate Christians are relatively free to worship informally. However, the existing places registered for worship are very small for the number of people gathering, and this can lead to tension between different Christian groups. In addition, it is extremely difficult to obtain a property for gathering for worship.
Local converts from Islam face the most extreme persecution, as they face pressure from both family members and the local community to recant their Christian faith. These believers risk discrimination, harassment, monitoring of their activities by the police, and even intimidation by vigilante groups. Moreover, conversion from Islam to another faith is not officially recognized and is likely to lead to legal problems in personal status and property matters.
Expatriate Muslims converting to Christianity experience similar pressures as in their home countries, as they are often living within their own national or ethnic communities. Despite this, there are rarely reports of Christians being killed, imprisoned or harmed for their faith.
Kuwait is a very small country with the capital city (Kuwait City) being the centre of all activities. The risks that Christians face—especially converts from Islam to Christianity—depend on the sort of community Christians are part of, rather than the geographical area where they live. Kuwaiti converts face the highest risks as Kuwaitis are conservative and family ties are strong. Western Christian expatriates are most often free to practice their beliefs, as long as they refrain from proselytizing. Non-Western Christians with lower levels of skills are more likely to face discrimination and abuse, especially female domestic workers. Many of these are from the Philippines.
“The Word of God is eaten here. People are so hungry for the Word that it just finds its way to them.”Judah
What has changed compared to last year?
Pressure remains at a very high level, with converts from Islam bearing the brunt of persecution as they face opposition from both family members and the local community.
Open Doors raises prayer support for persecuted believers in Kuwait.
- Pray for the many expatriate Christians who work and live in Kuwait. Ask God to give these believers fellowship, vocations and renewed hope.
- Pray for the government of Kuwait to provide more freedom for Christians—especially Christians from a Muslim background—to meet, pray and share their faith freely.
- Kuwaiti Christians who come from a Muslim background are sometimes detained and interrogated by the authorities. They can face severe threats if they continue to practice their faith and meet with other believers. Ask God to give them boldness and perseverance to stand strong in Christ.
Father, we come before You and ask You to strengthen Your Church in Kuwait at this very moment. Please give our brothers and sisters in Christ a passion to follow You in the fires of persecution—and let them know You are with them. Guide them with the fortitude to keep their faith and not fall away when they experience these trials. Refine them and lift them up for Your glory. We also pray for the government officials to loosen their grip and to allow more freedom for the Christian community to meet, to worship and to freely live out their faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.