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Oman: Information from 1990 to the present on the treatment of Muslims who convert to Christianity

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 March 1996
Citation / Document Symbol OMN23258.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Oman: Information from 1990 to the present on the treatment of Muslims who convert to Christianity, 1 March 1996, OMN23258.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad451c.html [accessed 21 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

Information on this subject could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

The information below may be of general interest, however.

According to Country Reports for 1990 and 1991, Oman is an Islamic state (1991, 1581; 1992, 1543) and Freedom in the World: 1994-1995 states that Islam is Oman's official religion (1995, 444). Encyclopedia of the Third World states more specifically that the "national religion of Oman" is Ibadism (1992, 1457), to which the royal family adhere (Country Reports 1991 1992, 1543; Encyclopedia of Religion 1987, 289). Ibadism is one of the main branches of Kharijite Islam (Encyclopaedia of Islam 1986, 648; MRGI 1992, 3; Encyclopedia of Religion 1987, 289). Oman is described in Contemporary Religions as "stand[ing] alone in the Muslim world as the only predominantly Ibadi country" (1992, 452). According to Contemporary Religions, between half and three quarters of the Muslim population are Ibadi with the other Muslims being Shi'i and Sunni (1992, 451-52). Europa 1995 and Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) also state that the majority of the population is Ibadi (1995, 2347; 1992, 3), whereas Country Reports for 1990 suggests that Sunnis may equal or outnumber the Ibadis (1991, 1581). For information on the doctrines of the Ibadis, please consult the attachments from The Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Encyclopedia of Religion. The latter attachment also provides information on the Kharijites.

According to sources, while Christians and Hindus are permitted to worship at "designated locations," non-Muslims are "prohibited from proselytizing" (Country Reports 1991 1992, 1543; Encyclopedia of the Third World 1992, 1457). "Conversely, conversion to Islam is encouraged and publicized" (ibid.; Country Reports 1991 1992, 1543; ibid. 1991, 1581). Freedom in the World: 1994-1995 acknowledges the freedom of worship extended to Christians and Hindus but states that non-Muslims "may not proselytize" (1995, 444).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

        Contemporary Religions: A World Guide. 1992. Edited by Ian Harris et al. The High, Harlow, Essex: Longman Group UK.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1991. 1992. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1990. 1991. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 1986. New ed. Vol. 3. Edited by B. Lewis et al. Leiden: E.J. Brill.

The Encyclopedia of Religion. 1987. Vol. 8. Edited by Mircea Eliade. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company.

Encyclopedia of the Third World. 1992. 4th ed. Vol. 2. Edited by George Thomas Kurian. New York: Facts on File.

The Europa World Year Book 1995. 1995. 36th ed. Vol. 2. London: Europa Publications.

Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties 1994-1995. 1995. Edited by James Finn et al. New York: Freedom House.

Minority Rights Group International (MRGI). 1992. David McDowall. Minorities in the Middle East: A Minority Rights Group Update Pack. London: MRGI

Attachments

        Contemporary Religions: A World Guide. 1992. Edited by Ian Harris et al. The High, Harlow, Essex: Longman Group UK, pp. 451-52.

The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 1986. New ed. Vol. 3. Edited by B. Lewis et al. Leiden: E.J. Brill, pp. 657-59.

The Encyclopedia of Religion. 1987. Vol. 8. Edited by Mircea Eliade. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, pp. 288-90.

Encyclopedia of the Third World. 1992. 4th ed. Vol. 2. Edited by George Thomas Kurian. New York: Facts on File, p. 1457.

World Human Rights Guide. 1992. 3rd. ed. Compiled by Charles Humana. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 4-5,238-40.

         Additional Sources Consulted

        Amnesty International Report. Yearly. 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995.

Arab Law Quarterly [London]. Quarterly. 1993 to present. Arab Studies Quarterly [Normal, Il.]. Quarterly. 1992 to present.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Yearly. 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995.

Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Yearly. 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994.

DIRB "Oman" country file. 1993 to present.

Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties 1992-1993. 1993.

Gulf Information Project. 1994. Information Pack.

Human Rights Watch World Report. Yearly. 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996.

Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies [Villanova, Pa.]. Quarterly. 1992 to present.

Middle East [London]. Monthly. January 1990 to present.

Minority Rights Group International Reports. Various dates. 1990 to present.

News From Middle East Watch [New York]. Monthly.

Persian Gulf States Country Studies. 1984.

Religion in Politics: A World Guide. 1989.

UNHCR databases.

World Directory of Minorities. 1991.

On-line search of media sources

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Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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