mosque
Oman is committed to upholding freedom of religion.

The Government of the Sultanate of Oman protects the basic rights of its citizens, including the freedom of religious belief, worship and education.

Freedom of belief is guaranteed under the Basic Statute of the State.

The vast majority of Omanis are Muslims and, while most of them belong to the Ibadi school, there are also Sunnis and Sh’ias.

Omani society does not only comprise followers of the different Islamic schools; its citizens and residents also include Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Bahais and Mormons.

Discrimination prohibited

The Basic Statute prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion and stipulates the freedom to perform religious rites.

At the same time, in order to safeguard the unity of society and its members, when citizens perform their rites in public they are expected to do so in accordance with the law, state policy and accepted social norms.

The Omani Penal law stipulates that all the Abrahamic faiths (not just Islam) shall be protected from offence.

The religion of the State is Islam and the Islamic Shariah is the basis of legislation. The Judicial Authority Law, which was promulgated in 1999, brought together all the Shariah, civil, criminal and commercial courts under the umbrella of the Judicial Authority. Its provisions are implemented in line with the Law on Civil and Commercial Procedures and the Criminal Procedures Code.

Religious pluralism

Oman has a long history as a multicultural society. The Sultanate of Oman enjoys sectarian and religious pluralism, but although its people follow diverse schools of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), its policy is designed to ensure that secondary differences have no effect on the fact that all worship the same God and belong to a single community.

The Sultanate is committed to upholding freedom of religion and the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs is the government body responsible for ensuring this.

Its guarantees of freedom of belief, worship and religious education are based on the values of tolerance, mutual understanding and coexistence.

The Basic Statute of the State does not differentiate between the different Islamic schools and sects. The State supports traditional schools and sects, because it recognises that they are integral components of the faith, culture and scholarly heritage of Islam, though its support does not extend to revivalist or extremist movements.

Dialogue

It encourages dialogue between the different Islamic schools to prevent sectarianism (which is forbidden in the Sultanate), as well as with other religions. The values of social harmony and tolerance are strongly promoted.

Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadi students study side by side in the country’s schools with no discrimination between them. Harmonious relations also exist in matters of worship and followers of different schools pray together in the same mosques.

The same is also true at a personal level. Marriage between people of different Islamic schools is common in Oman.

Omanis of other faiths like Hinduism or Buddhism have also adopted the Omani practices and traditions of tolerance, mutual respect and hospitality.

All sections of Omani society support international efforts to protect religion from radical trends and actively participate in social initiatives aimed at fostering solidarity between members of the human race.