Bahrain | SAT-7
An archipelago of small islands in the Gulf Stream, Bahrain’s history is of a series of truces, agreements and negotiations with its large neighbouring states, as well as of a divided state. In the 19th century Bahrain was a British protectorate. The Iranians also laid claim to the archipelago and Iran and Britain continued to dispute the ownership of Bahrain, until a United Nations’ Security Council vote in 1970 determined that the territory would be recognised as a sovereign and independent nation.
A constitutional monarchy, Bahrain is headed by a king from the Al-Khalifa family, and the government is led by a popularly elected Prime Minister. Uprisings and protests in several Shiite neighbourhoods in early 2011 saw the resignation of several government ministers and the scheduling of parliamentary elections with a greater representation of Shiite Muslims.
Bahrain faces frequent clashes between its Sunni and Shiite Muslim populations. Unemployment currently stands at 15%. 1 Women were granted full political rights in 2002, although there is still limited representation of them in government.
Accurate figures are not available, although SAT-7’s audience relations team regularly receive messages from viewers in Bahrain.
80% of the country is Muslim, 10% Christian and the remainder is a mixture of Hindus, Sikhs and other various South-East Asian religions. Bahrain is one of the most tolerant Gulf States towards Christianity. Although the majority of Christians are foreigners, there is a growing number of local believers. These believers face opposition from family and society, and occasional discrimination when seeking employment and academic opportunities.
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1. UNDP 2009 Middle East Report
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