Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa


(pronounced "HA-mad bin EE-sah all-kah-LEEF-ah")

"There are no differences among citizens, either in rights or obligations, all citizens are equal under the law."

Bahrain officially became a constitutional monarchy and changed its designation from State of Bahrain to Kingdom of Bahrain in February of 2002. The country is located 24 km (15 mi) off the coast of Saudi Arabia and 28 km (17 mi) off the coast of Qatar in the Persian Gulf. The country consists of 35 islands covering a total area of 691 sq km (267 sq mi). Bahrain Island, which is 80 km (50 mi) long and has a width of 13 to 24 km (8 to 15 mi), is the largest island in the archipelago.

The total population was estimated at over 650,000 in 2002, about 73% of whom are indigenous Bahrainis or of other Arab descent; 13% are of Asian descent and 8% Iranian descent. Like other countries of the Gulf, Bahrain's population includes a large number of migrant workers who reside in Bahrain but are not considered citizens. Non-citizens make up 30–40% of the total population. More than 90% of Bahraini citizens are Muslims, 75% of whom belong to the Shi'a branch of Islam, while the other 25% are Sunnis. Bahrain's Christian population numbers about 43,000, while some 49,000 residents practice other religions. The ruling al-Khalifa family belongs to the Sunni branch of Islam. The official language is Arabic. Bahrain's currency is the dinar . The major industries are petroleum processing and refining and aluminum smelting and fabrication. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated in 2000 at US $15,900.


Amiri Court
FOB 555
Riffa Palace
Manama, Bahrain
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