How many Christians are there in Qatar?
Of Qatar’s population of 2.8 million, about 372,000 people are Christian – including many migrant workers.
How are Christians persecuted in Qatar?
The level of persecution you face as a Christian in Qatar depends largely on whether you are Qatari or not. Most of the Christians in Qatar are migrant workers from other countries: these believers face pressure and discrimination, and their churches are often heavily monitored by the government, but they are freer to worship.
It’s a different story for indigenous believers. Life is much more difficult for them. A new believer is likely to face extreme pressure from their Muslim family and community, if their Christian faith is discovered. Christian women and girls are particularly vulnerable to having their freedoms severely curtailed by the Muslim families – including house arrest without access to outside communication.
Qatar doesn’t officially recognise conversion from Islam, which causes loss of status and legal difficulties concerning property and child custody. Similarly, a Christian from a Muslim background isn’t permitted to marry a non-Muslim.
Meet 'Pastor Samuel'
“We are limited in evangelising too openly. But nobody can stop us from talking to our fellow workers and witnessing to them in our everyday lives.” Pastor Samuel, a migrant worker in Qatar
What’s life like for Christians in Qatar?
Pastor Samuel* is a migrant worker in Qatar. He can worship as a Christian – but his underground work is forbidden: telling Qataris about Jesus.
Pastor Samuel also secretly encourages other foreign Christians to share the gospel. One evening, one of the seven men he’s discipling says that he is fearful of doing so – understandably. Pastor Samuel responds: “Fear is always reminding me of the strength there is in the Word of God. Real courage is to totally depend on Him.”
Pastor Samuel recognises that Christians can have a hard time witnessing in Qatar. “In this Muslim country, we are limited in evangelising too openly. But nobody can stop us from talking to our fellow workers and witnessing to them in our everyday lives. Every day God gives us opportunities to show His love to others.
“Many of those we’ve encountered in Qatar testified that they came to the country for the opportunity to earn more, but God had a greater plan. They encountered the King of kings and the Lord of the lords, who does not only provide them with a ‘better life’ but with life everlasting.”
*Name changed for security reasons
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Qatar?
It is getting harder: Qatar is one of the countries that rose the most on the World Watch List, compared to last year. It has jumped 11 places. The main reason was an increase in violence, and most house churches having to stay closed.
Services for foreign migrant workers are permitted at a designated compound. As it is too small for the expatriate Christian community, the government had previously unofficially accepted this community meeting in house churches. These had to close during the most intense Covid-19 restrictions – and have not been permitted to re-open when the restrictions were broadly lifted.
How can I help Christians in Qatar?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Qatar. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors supports the church on the Arabian Peninsula by organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources, and training believers and pastors.
Almighty God, we thank You for Your presence with Your people in Qatar. We ask you to bless, strengthen and comfort them in times of trials, and whenever it seems like there is no hope or way out. Please protect our brothers and sisters, and grow Your church in Qatar. Use the FIFA 2022 World Cup to draw attention to the challenges facing Qatar’s Christians and bring about greater religious freedom. Amen.