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Kuwait recognizes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In this photo provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members in Kuwait and friends are loading a car with food packages they’ve assembled to support a volunteer community food aid program.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received official recognition from the country of Kuwait, home to around 300 members of the church.

“We are grateful to the Government of Kuwait and in particular to His Highness, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, for his exemplary leadership in allowing freedom of worship in the State of Kuwait, in particular for the expatriate workforce,” said Bishop Terry Harradine, leader of the Kuwait congregation, in a release from the church.

The nation shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf. Its population of roughly 4 million people is around three-quarters Muslim, according to a 2018 report from the Kuwaiti Public Authority for Civil Information.

Many Muslim nations have traditionally discouraged or even banned proselytizing. Harradine was grateful for changing attitudes in his country.

“We appreciate the assistance and guidance of the Kuwait Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs for their assistance in promoting religious tolerance within the country,” he said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says most of the nearly 300 church members who live and work in Kuwait come from a variety of countries all over the world. In a statement, the church says formal recognition from the country will allow local church leaders to better serve their members there.