Introduction / History
The Swahili-Arab people come from east coast of Africa, mainly Zanzibar, Bagamoyo, and Dar es Salaam, although there are families from the interior regions such as Mwanza. They are a mixture of Omani and some Yemeni Arabs who travelled to East Africa in the 1700's to establish trade with Europe, primarily in slaves. These Arabs had children with their African wives and slaves. In the mid-sixties an African revolution against Arabs in East Africa resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of Omani and Yemeni people. It was after this that the current ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said invited any Omanis living in East Africa back to Oman. Since these people and their families had traded with Britain they were educated and knew English. Qaboos gave them high paying jobs in oil and gas and the government.
Where are they located?
Most Swahili-Arabs are located on the coast and largely in Muscat and the surrounding areas.
What are their lives like?
On the surface Swahili-Arabs function just like regular Omanis. However, when one sits with them at a meal it is when the African roots come out. Much of the time Swahili is spoken instead of Arabic, which is considered the trade language, and the food is much more African. While in some homes men and women eating separately is the norm like other Omanis, some Swahili-Arabs will eat jointly.
What are their beliefs?
Swahili-Arabs are Muslim and most follow the Ibadhi sect of Islam. According to locals, this sect is the most peaceful of the Islamic sects. The welcoming nature they have toward guests would agree with this statement.
While Islam is most definitely the number one thing Satan uses to blind these people, materialism is a close second. Pray that God would open the hearts of these people and allow the gospel to get into their homes.
Text source: Anonymous