A Qatar Guide for Tourists and Residents
Home   Qatar   Doha   Contact   Qatar Jobs   Qatar Map   Request

Friday, March 14, 2008

The cross shall not be raised in Qatar...

Cross in the Catholic Church in QatarPhoto by Omar Chatriwala

And indeed it is not being raised. However, for the first time in centuries a cross-less, bell-less church has been raised in Qatar, on land donated by the Emir, and is being opened today.

Despite the low key nature of the opening, controversy has been sparked in Qatar, with some members of the strict Wahabbi faith firmly against the construction. One columnist wrote:

“The cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha."

Other prominent Muslims in the country support the opening of the church. The former Dean of the Islamic university, Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, is one of those who supports the building of the church, believing that religious tolerance and the right to worship is a part of Islam.

"Having places of worship for various religions is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Islam."

There does seem to be support for tolerance for other monotheist religions in the Qu’ran:

“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.”

However, some Muslims oppose the building of the mosque. To support this rejection, they have used a quote from a hadith in which Mohammed is reported to have said:

"No two religions will come together in the Arabian peninsula."

Abdul has argued that this quote was taken out of context and does not in fact refer to the whole Arabian Peninsula but to Medina and Mecca.

Despite the controversy, Qatar is sending a message of tolerance out to the world. It’s one the current ruling elite seem to be keen on fostering. In a recent interview with Qatar Today the Director of the Qatar Leadership Academy explained that the aims of the Academy were to develop:

“...open-minded young gentlemen, who acknowledge all religion, culture, colour and social background.”

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Qatar Visitor Friends

Qatar Jobs

Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about Qatar