“Bahrain is a small country squeezed between OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it has limited oil resources and depends heavily on its role as a regional financial center and the entertainment playground for Saudis, who can drive over a causeway to enjoy Bahrain’s Western-style bars, hotels and beaches. It is also the home of the United States Navy’s 5th Fleet.” Its current population is listed as 738,004 which includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2010 est.)
The Associated Press reported in the USA Today newspaper “riot police firing tear gas and wielding clubs stormed a landmark square occupied by anti-government protesters Thursday, driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. Hours after police retook control of the plaza, the tiny island nation was in lockdown mode. The bloodshed has brought embarrassing rebukes from allies such as Britain and the United States. A statement from Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said suspects have been “placed in custody” in connection with the two protester deaths from earlier in the week, but gave no further details.”
Bibles and other Christian publications are displayed and sold openly in local bookstores that also sold Islamic and other religious literature. Churches also sold Christian materials, including books, music, and messages from Christian leaders, openly and without restriction. Christians in Bahrain make up about 9.0% of the population, and can be divided into two groups:
The first group is: Expatriate Christians – Foreign citizens from all the world who live and work in Bahrain. They make up the bulk or majority of Christians in Bahrain. They are a mix of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, with a diverse number of Churches available in Bahrain.
The second group is: Bahraini Christians – Christians who hold Bahraini citizenship. There are as many as 1,000 citizens of Bahrain who are Christian. The majority of these Christians are more recent emigrants to Bahrain, most of whom came to Bahrain between 80 and 60 years ago. They eventually received the Bahraini citizenship. Primarily, they are originally from Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq, although there are smaller numbers from Lebanon, Syria, and India. Many of them still retain cultural traits of their original homelands. For example, many of the Christians from the Levant speak Arabic with a Levantine dialect as opposed to the Bahraini dialect. The cuisine of Christian Bahrainis is also a sign of their ties to their original homeland. The majority of Christian Bahraini citizens tend to be Orthodox Christians, with the largest church by members belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church. They enjoy many religious and social freedoms, and even have members in the Bahraini government. Bahrain is one of the few GCC countries to have a local Christian population
http://content.usatoday.net/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=azcentral&sParam=35800863.story (Brian Murphy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.)