Thursday, September 27, 2007

Christianity Returning to Arabian Gulf

by Jenny Coutinho from Mangalorean

The 100,000 Catholics in Qatar have been for the last 20 years seeking permission to build a church, and in 2006 land on the outskirts of the capital Doha was donated by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. The construction of Christian Church was earlier opposed by the Wahabi majority who saw them as an extension of the Holy Land. The church will not have a spire or freestanding cross, like most of the churches here in the Arabian Gulf. Christians are forbidden by the Dhimmi laws to display crosses. The government permits freedom of worship to the Christian but prohibits conversions. Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Arabia under whose region comes countries ranging from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, to Saudi Arabia, is looking after the development of the Qatar Church project. In Saudi Arabia, where the holy city of Mecca is located an estimated million expatiates Catholics can be found.

1 comment:

Abu Daoud said...

Had heard about this before. I don't know the specifics of this case in Qatar, but if it is historically verified that there was some kind of Christian structure there, even hundreds of years ago, the government may allow the Christians to "repair" that structure. That is permitted even within a very strict approach to Shari'