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Hinduism



Hindus by country
Last column: % Hindus of the population
Bahrain 50,000 8.0%
Kuwait 4,000 2.0%
Oman 110,000 3.2%
Qatar 110,000 13.0%
Saudi Arabia 150,000 0.7%
United Arab Emirates 500,000 10.5%
Yemen 2,000 <0.1%
TOTAL *)
935,000 0.2%

*) Calculated for the total population of 460,000,000 in North Africa and the Middle East.

Dominant religion of India, which is really a great collection of beliefs. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, but many Hindus worship only a few gods, and sometimes only one.
Hinduism is a religion with a complex and rich religious literature, of which the Bhagavadgita is a text appreciated all over the world regardless of the reader's personal belief.
For the Hindu, his or her religion is a well integrated part of both everyday life as well as of cultural celebrations. The symbolism of Hinduism is very much present in all aspects of Indian society. The history of Hinduism goes back several thousand years, and it is probably correct to say that it is the oldest of the great religions in the world.
In the Middle East, Hinduism is a marginal phenomenon, despite its fairly high number of adherents. There are two reasons for this: First, most Hindus are guest workers from India (often just for few years, and normally without any hope of obtaining citizenship), in wealthy oil producing countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. As a result, many have little interest in funding temples or public festivals in the country in which they live. Instead they practice Hinduism inside their own houses, or when they return to India for holidays.
Secondly, and more importantly, is the fact that Islam is so significant a majority in these countries, and Islam do not consider Hinduism as a religion worthy of special protection, as it does with Christianity, Judaism and the Mandeans. But as long as the Hindus keep their religion hidden from public life, they are normally tolerated.
However, along the coast of Oman and Yemen, there are long traditions for smaller Hindu groups. These are the result of centuries of trade between continents. But even these groups have kept a very low profile, and in preparation of Contents, it was not possible to find information about any Hindu temple or shrine in the region.




By Tore Kjeilen