Catholic Church picks Bahrain as Gulf HQ

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Pope Benedict XVI attends the Holy Easter Mass at St. Peter's square April 8, 2012 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI attends the Holy Easter Mass at St. Peter's square April 8, 2012 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Getty Images)

Bahrain will take over from Kuwait as the headquarters of the Vicariate of Northern Arabia for the Roman Catholic Church.

Bishop Camillo Ballin will continue to lead the Vicariate, a statement said.

"After thoughtful consideration and the completion of a new Roman Catholic Church in the Kingdom, Bahrain will host Vicariate as a testament to the Kingdom's religious and cultural openness," the statement added.

The Vicariate of Northern Arabia holds responsibility for hundreds of regional churches and the spiritual well-being of over 2 million Roman Catholics living in the Gulf.

In February, it was reported that a Kuwaiti parliamentarian was set to submit a draft law banning the construction of churches and non-Islamic places of worship in the Gulf state.

Kuwaiti Member of Parliament Osama Al-Munawer announced on Twitter he plans to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country.

However, he later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-Islamic places of worship should be banned.

In March, it was reported that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region”.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

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Posted by: David David's

@Qatari. Why is it okay for you people to build mosques everywhere but no one is allowed to build churches or worship freely in most Arab countries? Who is intolerant here.?

Posted by: Chris N

Excellent choice of location. I wish the Catholic Church all the best. Can't wait to visit myself

Posted by: Elizabeth D

This speaks very well of Bahrain, and the Catholic Church must do what is necessary to be free to care for the spiritual needs in the region. How extremely sad for Kuwait and the other countries intolerant of Christians practicing their religion in freedom and peace. The state religious coercion and repression in Arab countries and the trampling on the human dignity of so many people is terrible.

Posted by: procan

Just to add a little Canadian info .We enjoy a population of over 940,00 Muslims in Canada, and in all accounts have 55 beautiful mosque. Muslims enjoy same benefits of all faiths, tax free status, there own broadcasting rights TV, Radio. They may educate there children in a Muslim environment in there own schools. Muslims who choose Public schools( all faiths) have daily prayer in designated ares in the schools. Muslims are involved in all areas of municipal ,regional provincial,and Federal government . They are Mayors, Parliamentarians ,Police Chiefs, Civil and Criminal court Judges. Doctors and lawyers. Fact is Muslims are part of the fabric of this tolerant country .

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Qatari, there are more than 2000 mosques in the USA. No muslim has been jailed or prosecuting by practicing their faith, there are no restrictions to teaching, preaching or proselytizing in the "intolerant" USA.

That sounds like the ME, right?

How extremely sad that some people may be so keen on twisting the facts.

Posted by: Qatari

What was the reaction to the mosque at ground zero ? How extremely sad for the Americans for their intolerance of Muslims practicing their religion in freedom and peace.

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