Oman casts itself as an Islamic sultanate. The structure of its family and personal status law makes deconversion from Islam near impossible, and apostates can be forcibly divorced, disinherited, and deprived of child custody. Freedom of religion extends only as far as it does not disrupt "public order." Islam is the state religion and Islamic religious law the main source of legislation. Blasphemy against Islam can result in imprisonment, as can other religion-related offenses ostensibly designed to prevent "incitement."
Islamization of Oman occurred early, in the seventh century. From then on, the lands that today encompass the country were almost always under some form of Islamic rule. An exception to this rule occurred during the Portuguese incursions of the sixteenth century. The British also effectively colonized much of the land that today makes up the country throughout the nineteenth century.
After the region gained independence from the British in 1951 and the modern state of Oman was established, the Omani penal code was enacted. This legislation provided the current blasphemy laws.