I was invited to a fashion show last Friday. I didn't get the tickets till the day before the event and I didn't pay them much attention. All I was told was that it was a fashion show that's been organized with the South African embassy. The ticket said that it was a benefit for Al Amana House which I had never heard of. Right before the show, the organizer introduced Al Amana House as a place that encourages interfaith dialogue and brought to the stage the organization's manager, Michael Bos, who turned out to be none other than a Christian preacher though for some reason they didn't introduce him as Rev. Michael Bos.
It got me wondering if all the companies sponsoring the event were aware that they were sponsoring a Christian center? I bet many of them didn't even ask. For all they knew it was a fashion show co-presented by the South African embassy. I guess that's why it was never made clear that Al Amana was a Christian center or that Mr. Bos was a reverend. I have nothing against interfaith dialogue, nor do I have anything against Christian missionaries. Oman as a country should be grateful to them. They established the first hospital in Muscat as well as one of the first schools. The missionaries have generally been extremely decent folks who have had quite an impact on Muscat and formed a deep bond with its people. However, they haven't been very successful with converting Omanis to protestant Christianity.
I didn't want to write this post until I knew more about Al Amana Center, but there's very little information about them online. I sent Michael Bos an email asking him for information about what they do but I am yet to receive a reply. If he ever replies, I'll post it here.
On an interesting note, while searching for information on Al Amana Center online I came across the website of the Reformed Church in America which is the organization to whom Michael Bos and Al Amana Center belong. Here's the interesting bit: An Evening with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said written by the RCA's general secretary, Wesley Grandberg-Michaelson. It begins:
It is hard to imagine anywhere in the world where a head of state would spend two hours in open and engaging conversation with a delegation from the Reformed Church in America. But that is what took place last evening here in Oman. (read on)