Expatriate ethnic minorities. Part of Kuwait’s tolerance for other faiths is based on the reality that foreigners comprise most of the workforce. Few expatriates are permanent residents – most are men on short-term work contracts who must leave their families back home. Poor and unfair treatment of these labourers is all too common; this, combined with loneliness, opens many to sensitive Christian witness.
a) Arab groups. Palestinians were the largest group in the past, but Palestine’s support for Iraq in the Gulf War resulted in discrimination against Palestinians and expulsion of many. Egyptians make up for the decrease in Palestinian numbers, as do Lebanese, Iraqis and many other Arab groups. There are many nominal Christians among them all – and many opportunities to minister the love of Christ.
b) The Bidoon (literally “without”) are stateless Arabs originally from the Kuwait region, but now adrift in the Middle East. They are present in Kuwait in significant numbers. They have no known believers and almost no ministry to them.
c) Asians. South Asians and Filipinos predominate, but there are also many Indonesians, Chinese and Koreans. They are largely contract laborers or domestic servants. A large number of Kuwaiti families leave much of the child raising to the maids and nannies who are often committed believers. Increasing numbers live and work in difficult circumstances, since they are considered beneath Arabs and there are no official channels handling the mistreatment and abuse that regularly occurs. Fortunately, the situation is beginning to improve through changes to the law. Pray for God to encourage the many believers and, through them, break into the lives of those from other faiths. Precisely because of their humble occupations, many of these Asians have amazing access to the homes and lives of Kuwaitis.