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Qatar Facts

Score:66/ 100
Region:Middle East
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:2,744,000
Christians:367,000
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Monarchy
Leader:Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

Profile of Persecution

Violence 13%
Church Life 84%
National Life 73%
Community Life 65%
Family Life 80%
Private Life 82%

Sharia law rules life and community

Christians in Qatar, especially converts from Islam to Christianity, remain under extremely high pressure from the government and society—risking discrimination, harassment, police monitoring and intimidation. Apostasy is a crime in Qatar, punishable under criminal law. Even one’s family can be dangerous in a culture that sees conversion as a betrayal. In the Western Asian country, Islam is seen as the only acceptable faith, and conversion remains a capital offense. As for church gatherings, while Muslims are free to worship in public, Christians can only worship in private houses or designated places.

How Christians are suffering

The expatriate and indigenous Christian groups in Qatar are separated from each other and must be careful when interacting with each other. Christians with a Muslim background are heavily persecuted; migrant workers who convert are especially vulnerable. Christian converts are considered apostates and face discrimination and harassment from society and even risk being killed by their family. Even their Muslim employers are likely to be a source of persecution.

Local converts are very much under the control of their families, facing pressure from both family members and the local community to recant their Christian faith. Because religion is part of a family and tribe’s identity, conversion is seen as a betrayal.

Examples

Violent incidents against Christians are rarely reported. The country is well policed  and, in general, peaceful. However, most incidents targeting Christian migrant workers  go unreported because the victim wants to keep their job.

It’s also sometimes difficult to discern whether mistreatment is due to a worker’s Christian faith. However, in general, the faith of non-Muslim migrant workers, including Christians, leads to extra vulnerability.

Almost all Qatari converts from Islam convert abroad, and the majority of them do not return to the country out of fear.

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

Pray for Qatar

  • Converts from a migrant background face high pressure and are controlled by their social environment in labor camps where they live. Even their employers can be a source of persecution. Both indigenous and migrant converts risk discrimination, harassment, police monitoring and intimidation by vigilante groups. Pray these believers will be protected from attack.
  • Conversion from Islam is not officially recognized and is likely to lead to legal problems in personal status and property matters. Pray that believers are able to navigate their lives after conversion.
  • While Muslims are free to worship in public, non-Muslim religious groups (Christians) can only worship in private houses or designated places. Pray that believers are able to meet together and enjoy Christian community.
  • Conversion from Islam to Christianity is socially unacceptable in Qatar. Pray that believers who choose to follow Jesus would be find comfort and assurance in Christ.

Stories from Qatar

January 15, 2020

Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More

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June 7, 2017

Pray for Christians in Qatar During Diplomatic Crisis

Christians in Qatar are requesting prayers for the current diplomatic crisis their country is in. A growing number of other Arab countries have cut all ties with Qatar. The future for Qatar and its hundreds of thousands of migrant workers – tens of thousands of those being Christian believers - is unclear. Read More

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June 6, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Qatari Christian

An exclusive interview with a Christian who is able to tell us what life is really like for Christians in Qatar. Read More

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