The state religion Ibadism (an Islamic orientation) greatly influences Omani culture. Ibaditic Islam does not encourage singing and dancing or images. For generations, however, the Arab Bedouin people have performed sword dances and the country’s many sailors have their own songs.
Despite Islam’s repulsive stance on images, there is also a tradition of underground visual art in Oman.
In other respects, the country’s art has mainly been expressed in the design of utensils, not least imaginatively decorated daggers and ornamented houses and pots. There is also a prominent gold and silversmith.
In recent years, Western mass culture has reached the country and now exists in parallel with the traditional culture. Modern Omani literature has also emerged, including a number of younger female authors. Jokha Alharthi was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2019, as the first Arabic author. She is educated in Scotland, but the award-winning work is a novel about three sisters in Oman.
Elections to the Advisory Assembly
The Omanis elect the 85 representatives for an advisory assembly. The Council does not have great political power, but may influence the choice of a successor. The country is ruled by a sultan, who is 78 years old and has some health problems, and he lacks a successor. Among the 737 candidates for the Council are 40 women.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Oman, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Oman plans embassy on the West Bank
According to Abbreviationfinder, Oman declares, as the first Gulf state, that the country will open an embassy in Palestine. A mission in Ramallah should be prepared. The message is welcomed by prominent Palestinians, but Hanan Ashrawi – who has been part of Palestinian delegations at peace talks – voices a concern: that Oman sees it as a step toward establishing diplomatic relations with Israel (see October 25, 2018).
Iran is being loaded for attacks on tankers
A Norwegian and a Japanese oil tanker are being attacked in the waters between Oman and Iran, southeast of the Hormuz Strait. The tankers are damaged by explosions and both crews are evacuated to nearby vessels. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims that only Iran is capable of carrying out similar attacks. Iran rejects the allegations, as well as after sabotaging four tankers outside the United Arab Emirates, which was carried out in May.
Successful efforts against diseases
WHO explains that the communicable diseases measles and red hand have been eradicated in the country. The World Health Organization calls for continued vigilance and vaccination campaigns, especially as the state of war in countries such as Yemen is jeopardizing the spread of infection.
A new committee addresses guest workers’ disputes
From now on, guest workers should be able to get help with a legal assessment if they end up in dispute with their employer. A special committee – called the Reconciliation Committee – has been established and has been given tools to enforce its decisions (see August 12, 2018). The system was initially introduced in Musqat, but the idea is that after evaluation it will be spread to the entire country.
Prestige prize for author from Oman
Jokha Alharthi is rewarded with the Man Booker International award. She is the first Arabic author to receive the award, and she shares it with her translator to English Marilyn Booth. The work that is being awarded is a novel about three sisters in Oman entitled Celestial bodies, praised by the jury as engaging and poetic.
Ports and airports are granted for the United States
24th of March
The Oman government concludes a framework agreement with the United States that will allow some of the country’s ports and airports to be used by US vessels and fighter aircraft. According to the state news agency, it is mainly the port of al-Duqm, which is strategically located 50 miles south of the Hormuz Strait, where a third of the world’s ship-borne oil cargo passes.
Oman on the EU blacklist
the 12th of March
Oman is placed on the EU list of states considered as a tax haven and facilitates tax evasion from other countries. The EU is of the opinion that Oman has not fulfilled pledges on tax measures.