Situated on one of the ancient trading ports between India and Mesopotamia, Kuwait has been under the rule of the Arab and Ottoman Turk Empires. In the 19th century, it became an independent sheikhdom under the British, before finally gaining independence as a nation in 1961.
Kuwait has played an important role as a military base for various US-led incursions into the Middle East, most notably Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War and again in 2003 which resulted in the overthrow of the government of General Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
The population currently stands at 2.59 million, of which over a quarter are foreigners.
Kuwait is ruled by an Emir, currently Emir al-Sabah, as well as a Prime Minister who is elected by popular vote, a national assembly and a municipal council. The position of Emir, or Sheikh, is hereditary. It was the first of the Gulf States to adopt an elected parliament. Shari’a Law is the main source of legislation, to which all residents must adhere.
The Emir retains power to disassemble the national assembly and schedule elections, as well as grant pardons from the death penalty and prison. The Emir is the Commander-in-Chief of the army.
Kuwait’s economy is largely dependent on its large oil reserves. Due to the arid climate and the harsh terrain, agriculture is difficult, and there is very little tourism in the country.
Unemployment currently stands at 2.2%.
Kuwait has a reasonably good human rights record with few reports of arbitrary arrests or torture. Women were given full political rights in 2005, but the country remains relatively conservative; approximately 70% of the women wear veils in the form of hijabs or niqabs.
Assemblies, both public and private, require prior permission from the state.
Although it is permitted to criticise the government and advocate political reforms in the media, many Kuwaiti journalists exercise self-censorship. It is illegal to imprison journalists prior to their trial and conviction in Kuwait. The country has the 115th most free press in the world. A Press and Publications Law passed in 2006 prohibits the publication of any material attacking any religious groups. According to recent surveys it is estimated that 3.6% of Kuwait’s population watches SAT-7.
Sunni Muslims account for 85% of the population, and Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and other sects of Islam for the remaining 15%. There are an estimated 400,000 foreign Christians living in Kuwait, and around 500 Christians of Iraqi and Palestinian origin. Kuwait has ten official church buildings registered with the state.
Evangelism directed at Muslims is forbidden, although the structure of Kuwaiti society makes conversion difficult. Close-knit families and a strong sense of tribal loyalty prevents many Kuwaitis from breaking away from family and tradition. Although the constitution grants freedom of religion, this is restricted to the condition that practises do not conflict with state policy or morals.
Most persecution or harassment of Christians in Kuwait comes from within families of believers, although there have been some reports of discrimination when seeking employment. The country is number 28 on Open Doors’ Top 50 List of countries that persecute Christians.
- Pray for Christians in Kuwait to persevere in their faith and continue to worship the Lord, despite their minority position in the country.
- Pray for an increase in numbers of the Christian community in Kuwait.
- Pray for continued peace in the country with its neighbours.
 CIA World Factbook
 CIA World Factbook
 Middle East Concern
 Freedom House Global Press Freedom Report 2010
 SAT-7 2008 Viewer Statistics
 Open Doors 2010