Capital: Doha Population: 1,600,000 Religion: Islam
Muslim Background Believers: A few scattered believers, not yet aware of each other
Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled by the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, who deposed his father in 1996 in a bloodless coup. Under the progressive leadership of the Emir, Qatar is developing quickly.
Qatar’s population has more expatriate than local citizens. Of its roughly 1.6 million people, only about 250,000 are Qatari nationals.
The strict Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam is dominant in Qatar, but there is also a small number of Shi’ite Qataris. Many Shia have become successful businessmen, but they are not prominent in government, for reasons of security and/or prejudice.
Because of the influence of Wahhabism, Qatar has one of the most conservative societies in the world. While expatriates enjoy quite normal lifestyles, the Qatari society is far more restrictive, especially for the local women.
Christianity has been tolerated in Qatar (among the expatriates) for some time, as long as Christians keep their faith to themselves. “Unofficially”, churches have been allowed to exist for a long time. Recently, after the government granted permission and land for a church complex to be shared by several churches, there is now a Church Compound, ringed with State Security, that hosts all denominations of Christian gatherings - Catholic and Protestant. This represents a far more lenient and tolerant attitude by the Qatari government than was known a decade ago. It also makes watching Christians easier since the house churches are becoming fewer.
Due to past (and present) restrictions, Qataris have had very little exposure to Christian truth. Most Qataris have never met a real Christian with whom they could communicate at a meaningful level. This is beginning to change. Still, many Qataris had no idea that Christians worshiped in their land until State leaders attended the opening of the large Catholic Cathedral, witnessed in all the daily newspapers, five years ago.
Pray that God would give birth to a local Church and national leadership within Qatar.
Pray that the Bible, other literature, and videos would find its way into the hands of Qataris and that Christian media (satellite TV, radio, Internet, etc.) would have greater impact.
Praise that the Church Compound exists and is growing. Pray that God would mobilize the thousands of expatriate Christians here to pray for Qataris and to reach out to their Muslim friends.
Praise that the Compound forces numerous and varied fellowships to work closely together to make the Compound a place of worship and fellowship. Pray for continued and greater unity amongst them so they’ll know who we are in Jesus by our love.
There is only a handful of “known” local believers, most of whom are not spiritually mature. Pray that they would be strengthened, discipled and used of God.
Pray that God would break the spiritual pride that Qataris have concerning Islam and prepare their hearts for the message of the Gospel.
Pray for God to grant Christians greater favor with the Qatari It seems that the Lord is creating a “new atmosphere” in this strict Wahhabi Muslim country.
Pray turmoil in the Middle East would shine the light on the truth. And on the Life.
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