Bahrain consolidated its position as the most religiously-progressive state in the region when in 2002 its new Constitution, the National Action Charter, enshrined the rights of all faiths and guaranteed freedom of worship.
Over half of those living in Bahrain are non-Bahraini expatriates, resulting in the Kingdom having a very high religious diversity.
On a drive around Manama you can see churches, mosques and temples. Many of these religious buildings have been in place for decades with large and well-established congregations.
Bahrain hosts around 20 churches. The largest church in the Middle East is to be built in Manama, reportedly with capacity for 140,000 worshippers!
Several organizations for interfaith dialogue and religious rights have recognized Bahrain as the country in the region enjoying the greatest religious freedoms and highest levels of interfaith tolerance.
The 2011 unrest had a difficult impact on religious coherence between Sunni and Shia sects. However, there have been a number of initiatives in recent laws to outlaw sectarian hate speech and take action against figures inciting religious tensions. Both Shia and Sunni preachers have faced bans and criminal proceedings for comments interpreted as divisive and sectarian.
Bahrain has a small Jewish community which is represented in the Shura Council by Nancy Khadhori and for four years Houda Nonoo was Bahrain’s ambassador to the US.
Even at times of heightened regional tensions Bahrain’s Jewish community has never found itself subject to any kind of anti-Israel backlash, as has been the case elsewhere. Bahrainis regard the Jewish community as a well-established segment of the Kingdom’s diverse cultural make-up.
A diverse range of religious holidays are celebrated in Bahrain. The shops are always full of presents, decorations and foods for commemorating festivals like Christmas, Diwali and Easter.
Bahrain’s leaders have repeatedly stressed that religious tolerance lies at the core of Bahrain’s social values. Nobody should be discriminated against or marginalized because of their religious beliefs and practices.
This is yet another reason why Bahrain is the destination of choice for those looking to settle in the Gulf and Middle East region.
Ten reasons why Bahrain is best: Click these links to find out
#1 – Family friendly
#2 – Religious tolerance
#3 – Personal safety
#4 – Cultural hub
#5 – Open economy
#6 – Tourist paradise
#7 – Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
#8 – Dependable ally
#9 – Island nation
#10 – Historic power-centre