Qatar, Arabian Peninsula
Political Leader: Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani
Religions: Islam 79.4%, Christianity 10.5%, Hinduism 7.2%, Other 2.9%
Persecution Ranking: No. 25
Number of Terrorist Groups: 2
Acts of Terrorism: 2; Casualties: 2
Percent of Corruption: 40%
% of People in Poverty: Not Ranked
Qatar, officially the State of Qatar, is an Arab emirate in Southwest Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the larger Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south; otherwise the Persian Gulf surrounds the state.
Much of the country consists of a low, barren plain, covered with sand. To the southeast lies Khor al Adaid (“Inland Sea”), an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Gulf.
The Qatari government’s 2004 Combating Terrorism Law defined terrorism and terrorist acts, provided measures against terrorist financing or fundraising activities, gave the government the authority to take action against terrorist activities, and listed specific punishments, including the death penalty, for terrorist crimes. Cooperation with U.S. authorities on counterterrorism finance was strong. There has not been a terrorist attack in Qatar since the March 19, 2005, suicide car bomb attack at an amateur theater playhouse, which killed a British citizen. Cooperation with U.S. authorities improved during the course of the investigation of this unresolved case.
Qatar is comprised of 79.4% Muslims and 10.5% of the population is Christians. The constitution provide for freedom of association, public assembly, and worship in accordance with the requirements of public order and morality. However, the law prohibits proselytizing by non-Muslims and places some restrictions on public worship. The state religion is Islam.
Challenges for Christians:
Qatar is ranked No. 25 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” The government regulates the publication, importation and distribution of non-Islamic religious literature. Religious services were held without prior authorization from the government, However, congregations have been asked not to advertise them in advance or use visible religious symbols such as outdoor crosses. Converting to another religion from Islam is considered apostasy and is technically a capital offense. However, since the country gained independence in 1971, there has been no recorded execution or other punishment for such an act.
- Pray for Qatar to continue to step up its counterterrorism cooperation.
- Only one in five people are actually born in Qatar―the rest are guest workers from India, Iran and Africa. Pray for outreach to other expatriate communities living in Qatar.
- The strict form of Sunni Islam, Wahhabi, is the state religion. Although telling Muslims about Jesus is strictly forbidden Christians from other countries are allowed to meet together to worship. Pray for Muslims to encounter Jesus in their dreams. Pray that they would grow as disciples.
- People are drawn to Qatar from different places because they can earn so much more money here, working in the oil industry. There are some small groups of Christians in each nationality. Pray that they would be able to share their faith with others and encourage each other as well!
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, The World Factbook