Christianity in Kuwait

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Christianity in Kuwait is a minority religion, accounting for 10%-20% of the country's population, or 650,000 people. Kuwait's Christians can be divided into 2 groups. The first group are Christians who are native Kuwaitis numbering approximately between 200 and 400 people.[1][2] The second group, who make up the majority of Christians in Kuwait, are expatriates from various countries around the world.

Kuwaiti Christians[edit]

Kuwait's native Christian population is diverse. There are between 259 and 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens.[1][3][2] In 2014, there were 259 Christian Kuwaitis residing in Kuwait.[3]

Christian Kuwaitis can be divided into 2 groups. The first group includes the earliest Kuwaiti Christians, who originated from Iraq and Turkey.[2] They have assimilated into Kuwaiti society, like their Muslim counterparts, and tend to speak Arabic with a Kuwaiti dialect; their food and culture are also predominantly Kuwaiti. The make up roughly a quarter of Kuwait's Christian population. The rest (roughly three-quarters) of Christian Kuwaitis make up the second group. They are more recent arrivals in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly Kuwaitis of Palestinian ancestry who were forced out of Palestine after 1948.[2] There are also smaller numbers who originally hail from Syria and Lebanon.[2] This second group is not as assimilated as the first group, as their food, culture, and Arabic dialect still retain a Levant feel. However, they are just as patriotic as the former group, and tend to be proud of their adopted homeland, with many serving in the army, police, civil, and foreign service. Most of Kuwait's citizen Christians belong to 12 large families, with the Shammas (from Turkey) and the Shuhaibar (from Palestine) families being some of the more prominent ones.[2]

Although there is a small community of Christian citizens, a law passed in 1981 prohibits the naturalization of non-Muslims.[1] However, male citizens who were Christians before 1980 (and male children born to families of such citizens since that date), are allowed to transmit their citizenship to their children (but are no longer allowed to transfer citizenship to their spouses).[1]

Kuwait is the only GCC country besides Bahrain to have a local Christian population who hold citizenship.

Notable people[edit]

  • Amanuel Benjamin Ghareeb (born 1950), an important Kuwaiti priest and representative of the Evangelical Church of Kuwait.[4]

Expatriate Christians[edit]

The denominations of both citizen and foreign Christians in Kuwait include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 140,000 Catholics in Kuwait. There is a cathedral in Kuwait City, which belongs to the Vicariate Apostolic of Kuwait. The Catholic Vicariate is largely made up of Asians from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and Arab Christians from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria. Maronite Christians, mostly from Lebanon, also worship at the Catholic cathedral in Kuwait City.

The constitution allows for religious freedom. Many churches exist in Kuwait. Kuwait's largest cathedral is situated in the eastern part of Kuwait city.


  1. ^ a b c d "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 1999. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "'Christians Enjoy Religious Freedom'". 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "num" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "num" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "num" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b "Nationality By Relegion and Nationality". Government of Kuwait (in Arabic). 
  4. ^