Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Christian fashion show

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)

15 comments:

Roba said...

is al tabsheer legal in oman?

Balqis said...

It probably falls under diversity of cultural expressions promoted by Unesco, which is the subject of one of the royal decrees issued today

what's tabsher ?

wedz said...

tabsher is telling the world about jesus its not related to convert into Christian at all.. and its not about relegion its about faith and beleive in God so they can get the salvation and have th eternal life.

I really didnt get wts ur point here... is it coz of th tabshir or the way they get into tabshir!

Wardat_il'7leej said...

I was supposed to attend, but cancelled on the last min.
How was the actual event?

muscati said...

I'm not sure what the exact word for tabsheer is. Is it evengelism or proselytizing? Basically it's spreading Christianity among non christians by establishing a mission and providing services to people while at the same time telling them about Jesus and trying to teach them about the bible. I suppose it's a soft-sell technique to get people to "salvation". I'm not sure if it's legal in Oman. I suppose it isn't. But then again, the Al Amana Center is supposed to be a center for interfaith dialogue, not missionary house. Oman's government has a balanced view on religion. We have churches and even hindu temples. But that acceptance of other faiths doesn't necessarily mean that our government allows people from other faiths to come to Oman to convert muslims to other religions.

wedz- I have no point here. Maybe I should have waited till Mr. Bos replies to my email before posting this. I had some thoughts in my mind and I wanted to put them down in my blog, that's all.

Warda- The fashion show mostly sucked. I mean the original designs were good. But they also had clothes from Mango and Monsoon for some reason. There was a cool South African dance troupe. But the show ended with a really corny bit where they played We Are The World and Michael Bos came on stage and asked everyone to stand up and hold hands. I guess that works for some people. Not me.

Balqis said...

Balanced view as Oman has, means that you run the risk
There are some Muslims in Muscat who converted
Were they converted ?
Difficult to say

wedz said...

thanks Muscati :) you helped me a lot in this post as a personal level

Anonymous said...

you miss the point of the whole thing entirely if you believe it has anything to do with Christianity or Islam.(or any other religion) The whole point is to try to get humanity as a whole to understand that we should be able to live together in harmony despite our differences. If you were at the show and looked around at the diffent nationalities, ethnicities, and religons at each table it brings hope to a troubled world!

Balqis said...

Anon

dnt be naive pls

Suburban said...

Nice, unbiased, interesting post Muscati.

One of the reasons I love Oman is general lack of Evangelical zeal exhibited by christians and muslims alike. There are few things more annoying than someone else shoving thier faith down your throat. I can only assume we will be judged by our actions when the time comes and we should live our faith, not just talk.

Perhaps if we let them, the christians would be knocking on doors Ala' Jehova's whitnesses... but I like to belive that everybody is pretty content to live and let live on the relegion front.

-S

A Yahya said...

Its actually part of a growing trend resulting from the US Evangelical movement and their covert activities in the GCC. Muslims are pretty much seen as the Last Frontier in their efforts to reach 'the unreached people' and trust me...the ultimate goal of most of them is not dialogue, but conversion.

Anonymous said...

As far as I am aware there have been conversions in Oman, but not of Muslims. I do know of several cases where people of other (or indeed no) religion have adopted the faith of one of the various flavour of Christianity that are represented in Oman.

It is easy to imagine someone coming to work in Oman and feeling very alone and then finding that it was possible to meet with a friendly group of people who collect together, support each other and assist those in trouble. It would be difficult to imagine such a person being attracted, or indeed welcomed, to the Mosque, not so difficult to imagine that same person finding people of similar language or ethnic background in one of the non-Muslim worship areas.

In other words, it is inevitable, but certainly not well publicised.

Elagante said...

Yes we all don’t have anything against Christian missionaries, BUT if a fashion show like that takes place, the organizers have to make sure that the public knows where the funding goes to...Not putting and Arabic name for them to cover questionnaires… (AL AMANA HOUSE) we will say akeeed it’s a Muslim charity raise…

I had a shock when I read this post, disliked the fact that I was suppose to go and participate in a work as such. Unfortunately Omanies don’t ask questions when the offer comes from a blond girl with a short skirt… I bet you they don’t even know where AL AMANA HOUSE is located…

Pity

Elagante said...

forgot to thank you....

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