Yahoo! Says Bahrain Is World’s Friendliest Country, Oh Really?

NEW YORK – Today, Yahoo! news ran the following as its lead “Friendliest countries in the world: Canada no longer tops the list of the friendliest nations, a new survey says. No. 1 is in the Middle East.”

The headline is sure to grab a reader’s interest, yes? Well digging into the article finds that Bahrain, the winner of the “friendliest country in the world” title according to Yahoo! and Forbes (the provider of the content to Yahoo!), was based on a survey of just 31 people. More than 6 billion people in the world and Yahoo! and Forbes base the moniker of ‘friendliest country in the world’ on just 31 respondents?

To be fair, Forbes actually says the list is of the nations that “are the most hospitable to expatriates,” Yahoo! decided to run with the “friendliest countries in the world” title.

I’m not calling Bahrain unfriendly, I’m just pointing out that the Forbes/Yahoo! story makes it impossible to conclude that Bahrain is actually the most friendly country on planet Earth.

Some evidence for and against Yahoo!’s claim.

I did a cursory search of Christian churches in Bahrain, thinking religious liberty something in short supply in the Middle East, would surely count toward a country being considered friendly. I found a list of seven churches on Wikipedia. For a Middle East country, seven is a large number (the number is most likely around 20). Bahrain has a total of three Catholic Churches, with the main one being Sacred Heart in Manama.

Digging further, alcohol availability, a sign of liberty and friendliness (at least after a couple!) to be sure, is also frowned upon in Bahrain, according to, “[Parliament] in Bahrain have voted in favour of a blanket ban on public sales of alcohol at Bahrain’s hotels, restaurants, clubs and off-licences.” Alcohol use will still be allowed in private rooms and hotel rooms however. Not too friendly.

The Forbes article itself doubts Bahrain’s status as the friendliest country in the world is accurate, writing that “it is possible that Bahrain’s first-place finish is a fluke. Only 31 expats working in Bahrain participated in the survey, vs. more than 450 respondents from the United Kingdom.”

On the positive side, according to Forbes “Bahrain ranked as the best country to join local community groups and coordinate health care. Respondents found it less easy to make local friends and learn the languages (Arabic, Farsi and Urdu), but the country ranked in the top five when it came to finding a home, setting up finances, and finding good schools.”

The tiny archipelago is home to over 700,000 people and is a constitutional monarchy. Bahrain’s legal system is based on Islamic law and English common law. Kind of where the UK is headed. Perhaps Bahrain will serve as a guide for the UK in the future. Hey, it is the friendliest country in the world. Political parties are banned in Bahrain. The CIA refers to Bahrain as a country where there is a “substantial problem of involuntary servitude and sex trafficking.” Mmm, charming. And so friendly.

The internet age has turned the news business around, but fact checking is still required of most stories. Ink is cheap on the internet. The great thing about that is, Yahoo! can run a misleading headline and I can rebut it an hour later.


Published in: on December 26, 2009 at 8:33 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i feel proud working in Bahrain now! =)

  2. nice informations.Thanks!!!!!!! 🙂

  3. This article is full of misleading information. The survey was of 3,100 participants conducted by HSBC, of which 31 were expatriates from Bahrain. Rather than just 31 participants in the survey as suggested by this lousy article.

    Secondly, the editor clearly knows nothing about this jewel in the gulf called Bahrain. If he knew a little about the country he was taking the mickey of, he would have realized that seven churches for a predominantly Muslim population nation of about 700,000 people is way more than enough. The majority of the population is condensed into an area of about 20 squared kilometers. I strongly doubt there are seven churches in an area of that size in England.

    Thirdly, if the editor knew anything about the region, he would have figured out how liberal Bahrain is compared to its neighboring countries. Alcohol goes against Muslim belief, yet it is allowed in the country regardless of any restrictions to where it is allowed to be sold or consumed. What you do not realized is that similar restrictions exist in the west. Can you sell alcohol without a license in the west? Are you allowed to consume alcohol wherever you like and whenever you like in the west? Consider these questions before ranting about things you have limited information about.

    Another thing I would like to point out is that you might think that Bahrain discriminates against non-Muslims by not selling alcohol in the places you want, however, have you thought about the bans against Muslims in other countries? Not allowing Muslim women to wear their head scarves in France and Turkey; not allowing mosques to call for prayer in many parts of the western world; “random checking” Muslims at airport security and the list goes on.

    Bahrain welcomes everybody to meet its warm population and greets everyone with open arms. Mr. Editor, please get your facts right when writing articles and do not write about things you know nothing about.

    NJ – Bahrain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: