How many Christians are there in Qatar?
There are only 367,000 Christians in Qatar, most of whom are migrant workers helping the country to prepare as it hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The other group of Christians are those who come from a Muslim background. There are 2.7 million people living in Qatar, and so Christians make up around 13 per cent of the population.
Why are Christians persecuted in Qatar?
The state religion is a conservative form of Islam, and nearly all Qatari citizens are by definition Sunni or Shia Muslims; leaving Islam is illegal. Employers can be a source of persecution to migrant converts. Both indigenous and migrant converts risk discrimination, harassment, police monitoring and all sorts of intimidation by vigilante groups.
What’s life like for Christians in Qatar?
Qatar is an absolute monarchy, and Christians experience persecution at all levels of society: the government, the local community and even family can be dangerous for Christians, especially for converts from Islam to Christianity.
Sharing the gospel with Muslims is strictly forbidden and can lead to prosecution and banishment from the country. Many indigenous believers came to faith outside the country, and now face pressure from both family members and the local community to recant their Christian faith. The expatriate and indigenous Christian groups are separated from each other and have to be careful when interacting with each other.
Many of the migrant workers helping with 2022 World Cup preparations have to live and work in poor conditions, while their Christianity adds to their vulnerability. But despite their living conditions, these Christian communities are growing.
Pastor Samuel* is a migrant Filipino worker who leads a secret church for fellow migrant believers. He says, “Many of those we have encountered in Qatar testified that they came to the country for the opportunity to earn more, but God had a greater plan. They encountered the King of kings and the Lord of lords who does not only provide them with the ‘better life’ but with ‘life everlasting’.”
How can I help Christians in Qatar?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Qatar. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors supports the body of Christ on the Arabian Peninsula through organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources and training believers and pastors.
*Name changed for security reasons
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Qatar?
Qatar has risen 11 places on the Open Doors World Watch List in 2020 to number 27, up from number 38 in 2019. This is mainly because of a rise in reports of violent incidents and a rise in non-violent pressure on Christians in the country.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You reign over all nations, including Qatar. May the light of Your gospel break through the oppression there and shine on and through our brothers and sisters. Please protect those who must keep their faith secret, and strengthen Christians who are working to prepare for the 2022 World Cup – may they find their joy and peace in You.