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  • Leader: Emir Sheikh Tamim
  • Population: 2.3 million (210,000 Christians)
  • Main Religion: Islam
  • Country fact sheet

The legal system in Qatar is based on Sharia (Islamic law), and leaving Islam is illegal.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a well-known Muslim preacher based in Qatar, has been clear that leaving Islam should be punished with the death penalty. However, there are many migrant workers in Qatar helping the country to prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and many of them are coming to faith in Jesus. Migrant Christians are relatively free to practise their faith, although the government monitors their activities.

Read more about persecution in Qatar

Persecution in Qatar

Nearly all Qatari citizens are by definition Sunni or Shia Muslims, and the state religion is the strict Wahhabi version of Islam.

Qatar's government, made wealthy through the country's gas and oil reserves, exports fundamentalist Islam by financing Islamic militant groups reportedly in Iraq, Syria and Mali - some responsible for pressurising and persecuting Christians - and funding the building of Mosques in Europe and Africa.

Christians within the country face many restrictions. Only Muslims are allowed to worship in public. Evangelising to Muslims is forbidden, and converting from Islam to another religion carries the death sentence, although there is no record of such a sentence being carried out since the country gained independence in 1971.

Qatari citizens are vastly outnumbered by migrant workers - only 20 per cent of the population is Qatari. Migrant workers are treated almost like slaves; they face overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions in 'labour camps', violence and sexual abuse, and are frequently underpaid. Being a Christian can add to their vulnerability, and they are often under pressure to convert to Islam. However, there are a few Christian complexes in the desert where Christians are allowed to worship.

Muslims who choose to become Christians must keep their belief a secret; they risk being ostracised by their families and communities, physical violence or even honour killing if their faith is discovered. It is a great disgrace for a family if one of their members leaves Islam. Almost all Qatari believers become Christians abroad and usually do not return to Qatar out of fear.

However, the number of migrant Christians is growing; let's pray that the same will be true of Qatari believers, even if their faith is only known to them and God.

Please Pray 

  • Some Christian migrant workers are abused by their employers because of their faith – pray that God will protect them and help them show the love of Christ to their employers
  • For wisdom and discernment for believers from Muslim backgrounds in sharing their faith with Muslim family members
  • For deep faith for new believers.

How Open Doors helps

Open Doors supports the body of Christ on the Arabian Peninsula through organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources and training believers and pastors.

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