Here’s some unexpected but welcome news: Bahrain is now set to get its first ever Catholic cathedral, called Our Lady of Arabia. The country’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has donated the land on which the church will be built, the first time the monarchy has ever done so. Christianity Today has more:
The new Catholic cathedral will join a handful of other faith communities in the midst of a predominately Muslim culture. In 2011 the country hosted 19 officially recognized churches, including the National Evangelical Church, which has served primarily an expatriate community of Christians since 1906. […]The Boston Globe reports that the Arabian Peninsula’s Catholic population is one of the fastest growing in the world. There are estimated to be 350,000 to 400,000 Catholics in Kuwait and Qatar, 1.5 million in Saudi Arabia, and 140,000 in Bahrain. Most of them are expatriates and migrant workers from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and other countries.
Christians are being driven out of Syria, and converts are beaten in Pakistian and sentenced to death in Sudan, but here, at least, is one bright spot for Christians in the Middle East.