Introduction / History
Arabs have inhabited the territory that is now Oman for thousands of years. The Omani are set apart from other ethnic groups by their unique use of the Southeast Asian Colloquial Arabic language and by their culture. They have a reputation for being excessively generous and polite, while remaining impersonal.
In the 1600s, an Omani imam, Saif bin Sultan, defeated Portuguese invaders in Mombasa, now part of Kenya's part of the Swahili Coast. That region became a land of great economic opportunity for Omanis. Omanis continued to migrate to this part of Kenya (and Tanzania) until the middle of the 20th century.
Where are they located?
Though most Omani Arabs remain in the Arabian Peninsula nation-state of Oman, some have lived for generations in nations like Somalia and Kenya.
What are their lives like?
The Omani Arabs live in extended family units. Their society is patriarchal, or male-dominated. The men do not abuse this authority because they believe that their families should obey them out of respect, rather than fear. Also, there are clearly defined roles for both men and women. The men work outside in the fields while women work in the homes. Men and women often eat separately and never pray together. While men worship at mosques, women attend ceremonies conducted at home. Most marriages are pre-arranged by the parents.
The Omani standard is to accept others on their terms. For example, they view anything less than excessive generosity as rudeness. Even Christians are tolerated as long as they are not Muslim converts.
What are their beliefs?
Virtually all Omani Arab belong to a tiny Islamic sect called Ibadaya (an off-shoot of Kharijism). The Ibadis withdrew from mainstream Islam in the seventh century and relocated in Oman and several other countries. They are more literal in their interpretation and application of the Koran than most Muslims. Other Omanis in Kenya are Sunnis, the largest sect of Islam.
What are their needs?
Omani Arabs in Kenya need to be confronted with the claims of Christ in a loving way.
* Ask God to give the few known Omani believers living in Kenya opportunities to share the gospel with their own people.
* Ask God to soften the hearts of the Omani Arab to the gospel as it is presented to them.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Omani Arab in Kenya leading many to be discipled in the ways of Christ.
Text source: Keith Carey