About Bahrain - Part 1

January 17th, 2016
About Bahrain - Part 1 | One Hour Translation

Bahrain is a small archipelago of 33 islands located in the Persian Gulf, just off the eastern coastline of Saudi Arabia: the largest of these islands is Bahrain Island.

Where Is Bahrain

Bahrain is a small archipelago of 33 islands located in the Persian Gulf, just off the eastern coastline of Saudi Arabia: the largest of these islands is Bahrain Island. The four main islands are connected via modern causeways, with the 16-mile-long King Fahd Causeway connecting them to Saudi Arabia.

Languages, Translation, and Religions

The official language of Bahrain is Arabic, with Urdu, Farsi and English also being spoken. If you have a translation project in any of these languages, please contact One Hour Translation for an obligation free quotation. We have highly qualified and experienced translators ready to take your instructions.

Bahraini is the major ethnic group with 62.4% of the population. The major religions in Bahrain are Muslim 81.2% (Sunni and Shi’a), Christian 9%, and other religions 9.8%.

Law and Order in Bahrain

  • In Bahrain, the legal smoking age is 21, and this law is strictly enforced;
  • According to Islam, drinking is prohibited, therefore Bahrainis are not permitted to drink alcohol. In certain areas such as hotel bars and nightclubs, it’s allowed by foreigners;
  • There are very severe penalties for drug possession, and these include jail time, huge fines, and deportation for expatriates;
  • Prostitution is now becoming more enforced, and jail sentences are carried out, followed by deportation;
  • Sheesha smoking has now been banned in cafes and public restaurants.

Taboos in Bahrain

  • Not only is it considered rude to refuse a Bahrainis offer of food, tea, coffee, and so on, but when offered, it’s polite to drink two small cups;
  • One should never point the heel, toe, or indeed any part of the foot, at another person;
  • Don’t use your foot to move anything or show the sole of your foot, because this is viewed as the lowliest part of your body;
  • Always ask permission to take a photo of an Arab woman; and never take photos of women who are completely covered in black;
  • In Bahrain it’s considered disrespectful to accept or give something with your left hand.

Bahrain’s Communication Style

  • In Bahrain, being tactful is appreciated when communicating, so the communication style here tends to be more indirect;
  • In certain situations, it may be considered rude to directly state your demands;
  • Don’t simply assume that Bahrainis don’t understand English, because almost all of them do;
  • Saving face is very important and, in order to avoid confrontation, people will avoid saying no. Ideally you would pay attention to non-verbal clues and tone of voice.

 Gender Issues

  • Generally, women work as housewives; however, with a new generation of educated women, working outside the home has become more acceptable;
  • You’ll mostly find Bahraini women working in jobs that prevent them from appearing in public: when it comes to foreign women this is not necessarily the case;
  • Women will generally walk behind their men, although this is not true for foreign women: if a woman is wearing shorts and wishes to enter a mosque she will be given a scarf and an abaya with which to cover herself;
  • All women have their own section in mosques, and this includes foreign women;
  • Bahraini girls and women are not permitted to be alone with a non-relative male. In addition, if the woman wears a hijab or an abaya, she cannot remove it in front of any man who is not a relative;
  • Bahraini girls and women are not allowed to swim, ride a bike, or play sports in front of men;
  • Most Arab men find it offensive to see a foreign woman sleeveless, so it’s not advisable to be out in public wearing shorts with a midriff top;
  • Although this is not applicable for westerners, Bahraini women are not allowed to sit with a man in the general section of a restaurant – they must sit in the family section.

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