Qatar Religion and Languages

By | March 5, 2021

Population

According to Countryaah, Qatar has an average population density of 245 residents per km2, but almost the entire population lives in cities. More than 2/3 of the residents and about 90 per cent of the labor force are immigrants. This has led, among other things, to an oblique gender distribution (75 percent are men). The country’s largest city is the capital Doha (521,300 residents, 2011).

The majority of the population in Qatar are labor migrants from Pakistan (34 percent), Iran (16 percent) and other Arab countries (45 percent). The indigenous people are Sunni Muslim Arab Bedouins, who, as a result of the oil income, have largely abandoned the traditional livelihoods such as camel keepers and pearl fishermen.

Language

The official language is Arabic. The spoken language is an Arabic yellow dialect that is close to Northern Arab Bedouin dialects. English is the most frequently used language.

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Religion

Islam is state religion. The majority of the indigenous population are Sunni Muslims, mainly belonging to the Han Balite School of Law or more precisely Wahhabism. The proportion of Shi’ite Muslims is estimated by unofficial sources at 5-15%. A large number of guest workers without citizenship are likely to be Muslims, but supporters of other Asian religions, especially Hindus, as well as Christians are also present. In 2008, the first official Christian church in Qatar, the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Rosary, was inaugurated in Doha.

Qatar Population by Religion

HISTORY

The cautious openings and modernizing choices of the Emir Šayḥ Ḥamad ibn Halīfa Al Ṯānī (who took the throne in June 1995), characterized the last years of the 20th century. and the early 21st century, earning the Qatar a leading role in the ongoing battle for reform and democratization in some of the Gulf monarchies. Despite many contradictions, due to its sensationalism and alleged links with Islamic terrorism, also the birth in Doha of the satellite broadcaster al Jazeera (1996) had introduced in the country, and throughout the Middle East, a freedom of information unknown in the Gulf region and in many other Arab states. In March 1999the elections of the Central Municipal Council allowed women to vote for the first time, also allowing them to be registered on the candidate lists; in July of the same year the emir arranged for the creation of a commission charged with drafting a new constitutional text aimed at limiting the prerogatives of the absolute monarchy in anticipating the creation of a National Assembly. The draft constitution (separation of powers, freedom of expression, religion and association, creation of an advisory council of 45 members, 30 elected and 15 appointed by the emir), was subjected to a popular referendum not binding on the regime, and got an overwhelming majority in favor (96% of votes). Pending the holding of the first political elections in the country (scheduled for 2005-2006, and then further postponed), the municipal consultations of 2003 resulted in the popular election of a candidate for the first time in a Gulf monarchy. A woman also sat on the new Council of Ministers, with the post of Minister of Education. In March 2005, a suicide attack in a Doha theater (1 dead and numerous injured) shook the country and seemed to threaten the slow democratization process.

On the international level, in March 2001 a verdict of the International Court of Justice closed the dispute with Bahrain on the demarcation of the maritime and land borders between the two states; starting from that same year the military presence of the United States in Qaṭar grew. On the occasion of the US war against S. Ḥusayn, which began in March 2003, the bond of friendship between the two countries was strengthened and between April and August of that year the US forces stationed in Saudi Arabia moved to the Qatar. In those same years, the conflicts with Saudi Arabia worsened, already compromised by border disputes, due to the economic relations activated by the Qatar with Israel.