‘Christians presence in Kuwait is very old’ – Dates back to Umayyad dynasty

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 6: The presence of Christians in Kuwait is old, dating back to the eras of the Umayyad or Abbasid dynasties. This is confirmed by the inscriptions on ceramic pieces that were recently discovered in Failaka Island, reports Al-Rai daily.

Head of the French expedition team that is exploring the ruins on Failaka Island Dr Juliet Bonrik disclosed that the new archeological discovery in Failaka Island few days ago is Syriac engravings on ceramic pieces. She said, “These Syriac writings date back to either the Umayyad or Abbasid eras, and are the first of its kind in Kuwait and the Gulf region. It indicates the presence of Christians in Kuwait during these two periods.

The existence of Christians in Iraq, Syria and Egypt during the Umayyad and Abbasid eras is a known fact, but the revelation of their presence in the Arabian Peninsula is new”. Dr Bonrik revealed, “These Syriac writings were engraved in black and I have never seen them before. We were lucky. We kept all the pieces and checked them separately. When I saw the engravings, I imagined they were written in Arabic”. “The period during which these writings were engraved can be identified but we cannot accurately identify the year”, she added.

Dr Bonrik affirmed, “This revelation, which confirms the presence of Christians in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf region in the post-Islamic era, indicates the level of tolerance and acceptance of the others”. She added, “We do not know the details of the Syriac writings on the ceramic pieces and the topics that were discussed”. Dr Bonrik has been working for ten years in the field of antiquities in Kuwait and the Gulf and is specializing in the field of Islamic monuments especially of the Umayyad and Abbasid periods. She said, “Kuwait had a Christian church and a monastery in Failaka Island, which lies within the port of Shuwaikh”. Dr Bonrik thanked Kuwait for its support shown to the Kuwaiti- French archeological expedition team, highlighting that Total Kuwait also has been providing support for their archaeological activities.

Director of the French Center for Archeology and Social Sciences in Kuwait, Abbas Zouashi, stressed the importance of Kuwaiti-French cooperation in the cultural, historical and archaeological fields. He said, “The center works in coordination with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French National Center for Scientific Research. The center has formed relations with all Kuwaiti institutions such as Kuwait University”.

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