Arab, Omani in Djibouti

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People Name: Arab, Omani
Country: Djibouti
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 93,000
World Population: 2,866,200
Primary Language: Arabic, Omani
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.60 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Arabian
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Omani Arabs represent a small percent of Djibouti's total population. It is believed that they immigrated to Djibouti from Oman during the nineteenth century. The Omani are set apart from other peoples in Djibouti by their unique use of the Arabic language and by their culture. Arabs have inhabited the territory that is now Oman for thousands of years. Omanis at one time had influence along the East African coast including what is now Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Large numbers of Omanis migrated to Zanzibar and the Swahili coast of East Africa during a time when that was seen by them as a land of opportunity. They prospered there until a bloody revolution forced most of them to return to Oman. For the most part, Oman has a relatively strong economy and a stable government, but some Omanis leave to find work in other countries including Djibouti.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Wherever they live Omani Arabs live in extended family units of three generations. Their society is patriarchal, or male-dominated. The men seldom abuse this authority because they want obedience to be based on respect rather than fear. Marriages are usually pre-arranged by the parents. Omanis prefer to marry their cousins. Love marriages are rare. Children are a considered the family's greatest asset because they provide the parents with additional laborers and social security. Young Omani children are taught to look to their older siblings to learn how to behave. By age two they are expected to begin to act like miniature adults, especially in regards to providing hospitality.
Even the children are given gender-specific duties; there are clearly defined roles for both sexes. Men and women often eat separately and never pray together. While men worship at mosques, women attend ceremonies conducted at home by female religious leaders. Oman Arab standard is to accept others on their terms. For example, they view anything less than excessive generosity as rudeness.  They have a reputation for being excessively generous and polite, while still remaining impersonal.
An Omani will prefer medical treatment for illnesses, but if that fails they will look to traditional practices like exorcists and herbalists. They might look to the "cold" and "hot" properties of food to cure illnesses.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Omanis were among the very first Muslims. They are overwhelmingly Ibadi Muslims, a branch that is similar to Sunni Islam. The Ibadis favor the selection of their imams through consensus not heritage. In that way they differ from the dominant Sunni sector of Islam. Some would describe the Ibadi sector of Islam as moderately conservative. As far as we know there are almost no followers of Christ among the Omani Arabs and no fellowships of believers.

What Are Their Needs?

Omani Arabs need the chance to flourish economically so they don't have to migrate to other countries like Djibouti. They also need the chance to hear and respond to the claims of Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life He offers those who follow Him.

Prayer Points

Pray for persons of peace among Omani Arabs to open the door to the gospel among their communities and family members.
Pray for Omani Arabs in Djibouti to have open hearts to the One who offers life to the full.
Pray for a massive movement to Christ among the Omani Arabs no matter where they live.
Pray for Christ's ambassadors to go to them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project