Qatar Gets Its First Catholic Church

Today in Qatar the first Catholic church opens its doors. Again tiny Qatar makes big news.
The land the church was built on was donated by the impressive Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifeh al- Thani. Prince Hamad is the same visionary that gave the world al-Jazeera, a TV station that revolutionized the TV news business in the Arab world.
This is a great step that some see as going against established cultural practices. However, it is a step forward toward more religious tolerance that is true to the letter and spirit of Islam. For many years hundreds of thousands of Christian expatriates living in Qatar had to worship in private places. The sensitivity toward building a Christian house of worship, or any non- traditional Islamic one for that matter, is a cultural and not religious issue. Islam itself, in an unequivocal Koranic verse, advocates no compulsion in religion. Therefore, freedom to worship according to one’s beliefs should be allowed and it should be the standard in dealing with all faith groups.
Other Arab Gulf states such as Kuwait and the UAE have long had Christian churches.


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