The building of the largest church in the gulf region will be in the tiny kingdom of Bahrain to showcase its traditions of religous tolerance in a region where churches largely operate under heavy limitations.
Instead, the planned church - intended to be the main center for Catholics in the region has become a cause for controversy. hardline Sunni clerics have strongly opposed the construction of the church complex. More than 70 clerics have signed a petition last week saying that it was forbidden in the Arabic Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam.
One prominant cleric, Sheikh Abdel Hassan al Hamad proclaimed in a sermon that there was no justification for building further churches in Bahrain, adding that anyone who believes that a church is a true place of worship is a person who has broken their faith in God.