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Coordinates : 25°30′N 51°15′E / 25.500°N 51.250°E / 25.500; 51.250

State of Qatar دولة قطر ( Arabic
Arabic
) _Dawlat Qatar_

Flag Emblem

ANTHEM: السلام الأميري _ As-Salam al-Amiri _ (transliteration ) _Amiri Salute_

Location and extent of Qatar
Qatar
(dark green) on the Arabian Peninsula .

Capital and largest city Doha
Doha
25°18′N 51°31′E / 25.300°N 51.517°E / 25.300; 51.517

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Arabic
Arabic

RELIGION Islam
Islam

DEMONYM Qatari

GOVERNMENT Unitary constitutional monarchy

• EMIR Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

• DEPUTY EMIR Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

• PRIME MINISTER Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani

LEGISLATURE Consultative Assembly

ESTABLISHMENT

• QATAR NATIONAL DAY 18 December 1878

• DECLARED INDEPENDENCE

1 September 1971

• INDEPENDENCE FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM

3 September 1971

AREA

• TOTAL 11,581 km2 (4,471 sq mi) (164th )

• WATER (%) 0.8

POPULATION

• 2016 ESTIMATE 2,675,522 (142nd )

• 2010 CENSUS 1,699,435 (148th )

• DENSITY 176/km2 (455.8/sq mi) (76th )

GDP (PPP ) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $404.109 billion (47th )

• PER CAPITA $145,894 (1st )

GDP (NOMINAL) 2015 estimate

• TOTAL $185.395 billion

• PER CAPITA $68,940 (4th )

GINI (2007) 41.1 medium

HDI (2014) 0.850 very high · 32nd

CURRENCY Riyal (QAR )

TIME ZONE AST (UTC +3)

DRIVES ON THE right

CALLING CODE +974

ISO 3166 CODE QA

INTERNET TLD

* .qa * قطر.

You may need rendering support to display the Arabic
Arabic
text in this article correctly.

QATAR (/ˈkætɑːr/ , /ˈkɑːtɑːr/ (_ listen ), /ˈkɑːtər/ or /kəˈtɑːr/ ( listen ); Arabic
Arabic
: قطر‎‎ Qatar_ ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the STATE OF QATAR (Arabic : دولة قطر‎‎ _Dawlat Qatar_), is a sovereign country located in Western Asia , occupying the small Qatar
Qatar
Peninsula
Peninsula
on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula . Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
. An arm of the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
separates Qatar
Qatar
from the nearby island country of Bahrain
Bahrain
.

Following Ottoman rule, Qatar
Qatar
became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar
Qatar
has been ruled by the House of Thani
House of Thani
since the early 19th century. Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani was the founder of the State of Qatar. Qatar
Qatar
is a hereditary monarchy and its head of state is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani . Whether it should be regarded as a constitutional or an absolute monarchy is disputed. In 2003, the constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour. In early 2017, Qatar's total population was 2.6 million: 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million expatriates .

Qatar
Qatar
is a high-income economy , backed by the world's third-largest natural-gas reserves and oil reserves. The country has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar
Qatar
is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is the most advanced Arab state for human development. Qatar
Qatar
is a significant power in the Arab world , supporting several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and through its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network . For its size, Qatar
Qatar
wields disproportionate influence in the world, and has been identified as a middle power . Qatar
Qatar
will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup , becoming the first Arab country to do so.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, among other Gulf states, cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting and funding terrorism and manipulating internal affairs of its neighboring states, causing the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Antiquity * 2.2 Early and late Islamic period (661–1783) * 2.3 Bahraini and Saudi rule (1783–1868) * 2.4 Ottoman rule (1871–1915) * 2.5 British rule (1916–1971) * 2.6 Independence and aftermath (1971–present)

* 3 Politics

* 3.1 Sharia law * 3.2 Human rights * 3.3 Foreign relations * 3.4 Military

* 4 Administrative divisions

* 5 Geography

* 5.1 Biodiversity and environment * 5.2 Climate

* 6 Economy

* 6.1 Energy

* 7 Demographics

* 7.1 Religion * 7.2 Languages

* 8 Culture

* 8.1 Arts and museums * 8.2 Media * 8.3 Music * 8.4 Sport

* 9 Education * 10 Healthcare * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The word Qatar
Qatar
is in fact the Arabicized form of the Persian
Persian
word "Guadar" which means the "port". the name Guadar is a common name around Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
. There are two other important cities with the same name: Govater in Iran
Iran
and Gwadar in Pakistan
Pakistan
.

Pliny the Elder , a Roman writer, also documented the earliest account pertaining to the inhabitants of the Peninsula
Peninsula
around the mid-first century AD, referring to them as the _Catharrei_, a designation which may have derived from the name of a prominent local settlement. A century later, Ptolemy
Ptolemy
produced the first known map to depict the peninsula, referring to it as _Catara_. The map also referenced a town named "Cadara" to the east of the peninsula. The term 'Catara' (inhabitants, _Cataraei_) was exclusively used until the 18th century, after which 'Katara' emerged as the most commonly recognised spelling. Eventually, the modern derivative _Qatar_ was adopted as the country's name.

In Standard Arabic
Arabic
, the name is pronounced , while in the local dialect it is .

HISTORY

Main article: History of Qatar

ANTIQUITY

Dot carvings at Jebel Jassassiyeh , dating to c. 4000 BC.

Human habitation of Qatar
Qatar
dates back to 50,000 years ago. Settlements and tools dating back to the Stone Age
Stone Age
have been unearthed in the peninsula. Mesopotamian artefacts originating from the Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) have been discovered in abandoned coastal settlements. Al Da\'asa , a settlement located on the western coast of Qatar, is the most important Ubaid site in the country and is believed to have accommodated a small seasonal encampment.

Kassite Babylonian material dating back to the second millennium BC found in Al Khor Islands
Al Khor Islands
attests to trade relations between the inhabitants of Qatar
Qatar
and the Kassites in modern-day Bahrain. Among the findings were 3,000,000 crushed snail shells and Kassite potsherds. It has been suggested that Qatar
Qatar
is the earliest known site of shellfish dye production, owing to a Kassite purple dye industry which existed on the coast.

In 224 AD, the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
gained control over the territories surrounding the Persian
Persian
Gulf. Qatar
Qatar
played a role in the commercial activity of the Sasanids, contributing at least two commodities: precious pearls and purple dye. Under the Sasanid reign, many of the inhabitants in Eastern Arabia were introduced to Christianity following the eastward dispersal of the religion by Mesopotamian Christians. Monasteries were constructed and further settlements were founded during this era. During the latter part of the Christian era, Qatar
Qatar
comprised a region known as 'Beth Qatraye' (Syriac for "house of the Qataris"). The region was not limited to Qatar; it also included Bahrain
Bahrain
, Tarout Island , Al-Khatt, and Al-Hasa .

In 628, Muhammad
Muhammad
sent a Muslim
Muslim
envoy to a ruler in Eastern Arabia named Munzir ibn Sawa Al Tamimi and requested that he and his subjects accept Islam. Munzir obliged his request, and accordingly, most of the Arab tribes in the region converted to Islam. After the adoption of Islam, the Arabs led the Muslim conquest of Persia which resulted in the fall of the Sasanian Empire.

EARLY AND LATE ISLAMIC PERIOD (661–1783)

Abbasid Caliphate at its greatest extent, c. 850.

Qatar
Qatar
was described as a famous horse and camel breeding centre during the Umayyad period. In the 8th century, it started benefiting from its commercially strategic position in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
and went on to become a centre of pearl trading.

Substantial development in the pearling industry around the Qatari Peninsula
Peninsula
occurred during the Abbasid era. Ships voyaging from Basra to India
India
and China
China
would make stops in Qatar's ports during this period. Chinese porcelain, West African coins and artefacts from Thailand
Thailand
have been discovered in Qatar. Archaeological remains from the 9th century suggest that Qatar's inhabitants used greater wealth to construct higher quality homes and public buildings. Over 100 stone-built houses, two mosques, and an Abbasid fort were constructed in Murwab during this period. However, when the caliphate's prosperity declined in Iraq, so too did it in Qatar. Qatar
Qatar
is mentioned in 13th-century Muslim
Muslim
scholar Yaqut al-Hamawi 's book, _Mu\'jam Al-Buldan _, which alludes to the Qataris' fine striped woven cloaks and their skills in improvement and finishing of spears.

Much of Eastern Arabia was controlled by the Usfurids in 1253, but control of the region was seized by the prince of Ormus in 1320. Qatar's pearls provided the kingdom with one of its main sources of income. In 1515, Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
vassalised the Kingdom of Ormus. Portugal
Portugal
went on to seize a significant portion of Eastern Arabia in 1521. In 1550, the inhabitants of Al-Hasa voluntarily submitted to the rule of the Ottomans , preferring them to the Portuguese. Having retained a negligible military presence in the area, the Ottomans were expelled by the Bani Khalid tribe in 1670.

BAHRAINI AND SAUDI RULE (1783–1868)

A map of East Arabia in 1794.

In 1766, the Utub tribe of Al Khalifa migrated from Kuwait
Kuwait
to Zubarah in Qatar. By the time of their arrival, the Bani Khalid exercised weak authority over the peninsula, not withholding that the largest village was ruled by a distant kin of the Bani Khalid. In 1783, Qatar-based Bani Utbah clans and allied Arab tribes invaded and annexed Bahrain
Bahrain
from the Persians. The Al Khalifa imposed their authority over Bahrain
Bahrain
and extended their area of jurisdiction to Qatar. A partially restored section of the ruined town of Zubarah
Zubarah
.

Following the swearing in of Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz as crown prince of the Wahhabi
Wahhabi
in 1788, he moved to expand his empire eastward towards the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
and Qatar. After defeating the Bani Khalid in 1795, the Wahhabi
Wahhabi
were attacked on two fronts. The Ottomans and Egyptians assaulted the western front, while the Al Khalifa in Bahrain
Bahrain
and the Omanis launched an attack against the eastern front. Upon being made aware of advancements by the Egyptians on the western frontier in 1811, the Wahhabi
Wahhabi
amir reduced his garrisons in Bahrain
Bahrain
and Zubarah
Zubarah
in order to re-position his troops. Said bin Sultan of Muscat capitalised on this opportunity and raided the Wahhabi
Wahhabi
garrisons on the eastern coast, setting fire to the fort in Zubarah. The Al Khalifa were effectively returned to power thereafter.

As punishment for piracy, an East India
India
Company vessel bombarded Doha in 1821, destroying the town and forcing hundreds of residents to flee. In 1825, the House of Thani
House of Thani
was established with Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani as the first leader.

Although Qatar
Qatar
had the legal status of a dependency , there was a popular sentiment of resentment against the Al Khalifa. In 1867, the Al Khalifa, along with the ruler of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
, sent a massive naval force to Al Wakrah in an effort to crush the Qatari rebels. This resulted in the maritime Qatari–Bahraini War
Qatari–Bahraini War
of 1867–1868, in which Bahraini and Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
forces sacked and looted Doha
Doha
and Al Wakrah. However, the Bahraini hostilities were in violation of the 1820 Anglo-Bahraini Treaty . The joint incursion, in addition to the Qatari counterattack, prompted British political agent Lewis Pelly to impose a settlement in 1868. His mission to Bahrain
Bahrain
and Qatar
Qatar
and the resulting peace treaty were milestones because they implicitly recognised the distinctness of Qatar
Qatar
from Bahrain
Bahrain
and explicitly acknowledged the position of Mohammed bin Thani. In addition to censuring Bahrain
Bahrain
for its breach of agreement, the British protectorate asked to negotiate with a representative from Qatar, a role which Mohammed bin Thani was selected to fulfil. The results of the negotiations left the nation with a new-found sense of political identity, although it did not gain an official standing as a protectorate until 1916.

OTTOMAN RULE (1871–1915)

Qatar
Qatar
in an 1891 Adolf Stieler
Adolf Stieler
map Old city of Doha, January 1904.

Under military and political pressure from the governor of the Ottoman Vilayet of Baghdad
Vilayet of Baghdad
, Midhat Pasha , the ruling Al Thani tribe submitted to Ottoman rule in 1871. The Ottoman government imposed reformist ( Tanzimat ) measures concerning taxation and land registration to fully integrate these areas into the empire. Despite the disapproval of local tribes, Al Thani continued supporting Ottoman rule. However, Qatari-Ottoman relations soon stagnated, and in 1882 they suffered further setbacks when the Ottomans refused to aid Al Thani in his expedition of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
-occupied Al Khor . In addition, the Ottomans supported the Ottoman subject Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab who attempted to supplant Al Thani as kaymakam of Qatar
Qatar
in 1888. This eventually led Al Thani to rebel against the Ottomans, whom he believed were seeking to usurp control of the peninsula. He resigned as kaymakam and stopped paying taxes in August 1892.

In February 1893, Mehmed Hafiz Pasha arrived in Qatar
Qatar
in the interests of seeking unpaid taxes and accosting Jassim bin Mohammed's opposition to proposed Ottoman administrative reforms. Fearing that he would face death or imprisonment, Jassim retreated to Al Wajbah (10 miles west of Doha
Doha
), accompanied by several tribe members. Mehmed's demand that Jassim disband his troops and pledge his loyalty to the Ottomans was met with refusal. In March, Mehmed imprisoned Jassim's brother and 13 prominent Qatari tribal leaders on the Ottoman corvette _Merrikh_ as punishment for his insubordination. After Mehmed declined an offer to release the captives for a fee of 10,000 liras , he ordered a column of approximately 200 troops to advance towards Jassim's Al Wajbah Fort under the command of Yusuf Effendi, thus signalling the start of the Battle of Al Wajbah .

Effendi's troops came under heavy gunfire by a sizable troop of Qatari infantry and cavalry shortly after arriving to Al Wajbah. They retreated to Shebaka fortress, where they were again forced to draw back from a Qatari incursion. After they withdrew to Al Bidda fortress, Jassim's advancing column besieged the fortress, resulting in the Ottomans' concession of defeat and agreement to relinquish their captives in return for the safe passage of Mehmed Pasha's cavalry to Hofuf by land. Although Qatar
Qatar
did not gain full independence from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
, the result of the battle forced a treaty that would later form the basis of Qatar's emerging as an autonomous country within the empire.

BRITISH RULE (1916–1971)

Zubarah
Zubarah
Fort built in 1938.

The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
fell into disorder after losing battles in different fronts in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I . Qatar took part in the Arab revolt
Arab revolt
against the Ottomans. The revolt was successful and Ottoman rule in the country further declined. The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
accorded their recognition to Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani and his successors' right to rule over the whole of the Qatari Peninsula. The Ottomans renounced all their rights to Qatar
Qatar
and, following the outbreak of the First World War , Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (who was pro-British) forced them to abandon Doha
Doha
in 1915.

As a result of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
, Qatar
Qatar
became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916. On that day, the United Kingdom signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani to bring Qatar
Qatar
under its Trucial System of Administration . While Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without prior consent of the British government , the British guaranteed the protection of Qatar
Qatar
from all aggression by sea. On 5 May 1935, Abdullah signed another treaty with the British government which granted Qatar
Qatar
protection against internal and external threats. Oil reserves were first discovered in 1939. However, exploitation was delayed by World War II
World War II
.

The influence of the British Empire
British Empire
started diminishing after World War II, particularly after the Independence of India
India
and Pakistan
Pakistan
in 1947. In the 1950s, oil began replacing pearling and fishing as Qatar's main sources of revenue. Oil earnings began to fund the expansion and modernisation of Qatar's infrastructure. Pressure for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian
Persian
Gulf increased during the 1950s. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would politically disengage from the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
in three years' time, Qatar
Qatar
joined Bahrain
Bahrain
and seven other Trucial States
Trucial States
in a federation. Regional disputes, however, quickly compelled Qatar
Qatar
to resign and declare independence from the coalition which would eventually evolve into the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
.

INDEPENDENCE AND AFTERMATH (1971–PRESENT)

Traditional dhows in front of the West Bay skyline as seen from the Doha
Doha
Corniche .

The State of Qatar
Qatar
entered into a general maritime truce with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
in 1868. A General Treaty was concluded between the two on 3 November 1916. The General Treaty reserved foreign affairs and defence to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
but allowed internal autonomy. On 3 September 1971, those "special treaty arrangements" that were "inconsistent with full international responsibility as a sovereign and independent state" were terminated. This was done under an agreement reached between the Ruler of Qatar
Qatar
and the Government of the United Kingdom.

In 1991, Qatar
Qatar
played a significant role in the Gulf War
Gulf War
, particularly during the Battle of Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of the town and provided fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard units that were engaging Iraqi Army
Iraqi Army
troops. Qatar
Qatar
allowed coalition troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on CAP duty and also permitted air forces from the United States and France
France
to operate in its territories.

In 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seized control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani , with the support of the armed forces and cabinet, as well as neighbouring states and France
France
. Under Emir Hamad, Qatar
Qatar
has experienced a moderate degree of liberalisation , including the launch of the Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
television station (1996), the endorsement of women\'s suffrage or right to vote in municipal elections (1999), drafting its first written constitution (2005) and inauguration of a Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
church (2008). In 2010, Qatar
Qatar
won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup , making it the first country in the Middle East
Middle East
to be selected to host the tournament. The Emir announced Qatar's plans to hold its first national legislative elections in 2013. They were scheduled to be held in the second half of 2013, but were postponed in June 2013 and may be delayed until 2019 .

In 2003, Qatar
Qatar
served as the US Central Command headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the invasion of Iraq
Iraq
. In March 2005, a suicide bombing killed a British teacher at the Doha
Doha
Players Theatre, shocking the country, which had not previously experienced acts of terrorism. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian resident in Qatar
Qatar
who had suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . In 2011, Qatar
Qatar
joined NATO operations in Libya
Libya
and reportedly armed Libyan opposition
Libyan opposition
groups. It is also currently a major funder of weapons for rebel groups in the Syrian civil war . Qatar
Qatar
is pursuing an Afghan peace deal and in January 2012 the Afghan Taliban said they were setting up a political office in Qatar
Qatar
to facilitate talks.

In June 2013, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani became the Emir of Qatar
Qatar
after his father handed over power in a televised speech. Sheikh Tamim has prioritised improving the domestic welfare of citizens, which includes establishing advanced healthcare and education systems, and expanding the country's infrastructure in preparation for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar
Qatar
participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh , who was deposed in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

In June 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen
Yemen
and Libya
Libya
cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, citing the country\'s alleged support of groups they considered to be extremist .

POLITICS

Main article: Politics of Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with U.S. President Donald Trump
Donald Trump
in May 2017

Qatar
Qatar
is either a constitutional or an absolute monarchy ruled by the Al Thani family . The Al Thani dynasty has been ruling Qatar since the family house was established in 1825. In 2003, Qatar adopted a constitution that provided for the direct election of 30 of the 45 members of the Legislative Council. The constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour.

The eighth Emir of Qatar
Qatar
is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani , whose father Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed power to him on 25 June 2013. The supreme chancellor has the exclusive power to appoint and remove the prime minister and cabinet ministers who, together, constitute the Council of Ministers, which is the supreme executive authority in the country. The Council of Ministers also initiates legislation. Laws and decrees proposed by the Council of Ministers are referred to the Advisory Council (Majilis Al Shura) for discussion after which they are submitted to the Emir for ratification. A Consultative Assembly has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, but the Emir has final say on all matters. The current Council is composed entirely of members appointed by the Emir, as no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body. Legislative elections have been postponed until at least 2019.

Qatari law does not permit the establishment of political bodies or trade unions.

SHARIA LAW

See also: Human rights in Qatar

According to Qatar's Constitution, Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation. Although in practice, Qatar's legal system is a mixture of civil law and Sharia law. Sharia law is applied to family law , inheritance , and several criminal acts (including adultery, robbery and murder). In some cases, Sharia-based family courts treat a female's testimony as being worth half that of a man. Codified family law was introduced in 2006. Islamic polygyny is permitted.

Judicial corporal punishment is common in Qatar
Qatar
due to the Wahhabi interpretation of Sharia Law, although in Qatar
Qatar
it had originally been a Hanbali school of mainstream Sunnism
Sunnism
. Flogging is employed as a punishment for alcohol consumption or illicit sexual relations. Article 88 of Qatar's criminal code declares that the penalty for adultery is 100 lashes , and in 2006, a Filipino woman received that punishment. In 2010, at least 18 people (mostly foreign nationals) were sentenced to receive between 40 and 100 lashes for offences involving "illicit sexual relations" or alcohol consumption. In 2011, at least 21 people (mostly foreign nationals) were sentenced to between 30 and 100 lashes for the same reasons, and in 2012, six expatriates were sentenced to either 40 or 100 lashes. Only Muslims considered medically fit are liable to have such sentences carried out. It is unknown if the sentences were implemented. In April 2013, a Muslim
Muslim
expatriate was sentenced to 40 lashes for alcohol consumption, and in June 2014, a Muslim
Muslim
expatriate was sentenced to 40 lashes for consuming alcohol and driving under the influence. Stoning is a legal punishment in Qatar, and apostasy and homosexuality are crimes punishable by the death penalty . Blasphemy can result in up to seven years in prison, while proselytising can incur a 10-year sentence.

Alcohol consumption is partially legal in Qatar; some five-star luxury hotels are allowed to sell alcohol to their non-Muslim customers. Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol, and those caught consuming it are liable to flogging or deportation. Non-Muslim expatriates can obtain a permit to purchase alcohol for personal consumption. The Qatar
Qatar
Distribution Company (a subsidiary of Qatar Airways ) is permitted to import alcohol and pork; it operates the one and only liquor store in the country, which also sells pork to holders of liquor licences. Qatari officials have also indicated a willingness to allow alcohol in "fan zones" at the 2022 FIFA World Cup .

Until 2011, restaurants on the Pearl- Qatar
Qatar
(a man-made island near Doha) were allowed to serve alcoholic drinks. In December 2011, however, Pearl restaurants were told to stop selling alcohol. No explanation was given for the ban, though speculation included encouraging a more pious image before a significant election and rumours of a financial dispute between the government and resort developers. The alcohol ban was later lifted.

In 2014, a modesty campaign was launched to remind tourists of the country's restrictive dress code. Female tourists were advised not to wear leggings, miniskirts, sleeveless dresses, or short or tight clothing in public. Men were warned against wearing only shorts and singlets.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Main article: Human rights in Qatar

According to the U.S. State Department , expatriate workers from nations throughout Asia
Asia
and parts of Africa
Africa
voluntarily migrate to Qatar
Qatar
as low-skilled labourers or domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude. Some of the more common labour rights violations include beatings, withholding of payment, charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible, restrictions on freedom of movement (such as the confiscation of passports, travel documents, or exit permits), arbitrary detention, threats of legal action, and sexual assault. Many migrant workers arriving for work in Qatar
Qatar
have paid exorbitant fees to recruiters in their home countries.

As of 2014 , certain provisions of the Qatari Criminal Code allows punishments such as flogging and stoning to be imposed as criminal sanctions. The UN Committee Against Torture
UN Committee Against Torture
found that these practices constituted a breach of the obligations imposed by the UN Convention Against Torture . Qatar
Qatar
retains the death penalty, mainly for threats against national security such as terrorism. Use of the death penalty is rare and no state executions have taken place in Qatar since 2003. In Qatar, homosexual acts are illegal and can be punished by death.

Under the provisions of Qatar's sponsorship law, sponsors have the unilateral power to cancel workers' residency permits, deny workers' ability to change employers, report a worker as "absconded" to police authorities, and deny permission to leave the country. As a result, sponsors may restrict workers' movements and workers may be afraid to report abuses or claim their rights. According to the ITUC , the visa sponsorship system allows the exaction of forced labour by making it difficult for a migrant worker to leave an abusive employer or travel overseas without permission. Qatar
Qatar
also does not maintain wage standards for its immigrant labourers. Qatar
Qatar
commissioned international law firm DLA Piper to produce a report investigating the immigrant labour system. In May 2014 DLA Piper released over 60 recommendations for reforming the kafala system including the abolition of exit visas and the introduction of a minimum wage which Qatar
Qatar
has pledged to implement.

In May 2012, Qatari officials declared their intention to allow the establishment of an independent trade union. Qatar
Qatar
also announced it will scrap its sponsor system for foreign labour, which requires that all foreign workers be sponsored by local employers. Additional changes to labour laws include a provision guaranteeing that all workers' salaries are paid directly into their bank accounts and new restrictions on working outdoors in the hottest hours during the summer. New draft legislation announced in early 2015 mandates that companies that fail to pay workers' wages on time could temporarily lose their ability to hire more employees.

In October 2015 Qatar's Emir signed into law new reforms to the country's sponsorship system, with the new law taking effect within one year. Critics claim that the changes could fail to address some labour rights issues.

The country enfranchised women at the same time as men in connection with the 1999 elections for a Central Municipal Council. These elections—the first ever in Qatar—were deliberately held on 8 March 1999, International Women\'s Day .

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Main article: Foreign relations of Qatar
Foreign relations of Qatar
Former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
in 2013. Embassy of Qatar
Qatar
in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

As a small country with larger neighbours, Qatar
Qatar
seeks to project influence and protect its state and ruling dynasty. The history of Qatar's alliances provides insight into the basis of their policy. Between 1760 and 1971, Qatar
Qatar
sought formal protection from the high transitory powers of the Ottomans, British, the Al-Khalifas from Bahrain, the Arabians, and the Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia. Qatar's rising international profile and active role in international affairs has led some analysts to identify it as a middle power . Qatar
Qatar
was an early member of OPEC and a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It is a member of the Arab League . The country has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
jurisdiction.

Qatar
Qatar
also has bilateral relationships with a variety of foreign powers. Qatar
Qatar
hosts the Al Udeid Air Base
Al Udeid Air Base
, a joint U.S.-British base, which acts as the hub for all American and British air operations in the Persian
Persian
Gulf. It has allowed American and British forces to use an air base to send supplies to Iraq
Iraq
and Afghanistan. Despite hosting this strategic military installation, Qatar
Qatar
is not always a strong Western ally. Qatar
Qatar
has allowed the Afghan Taliban to set up a political office inside the country and has close ties to Iran, including a shared natural gas field. According to leaked documents published in _The New York Times_, Qatar's record of counter-terrorism efforts was the "worst in the region". The cable suggested that Qatar's security service was "hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals".

Qatar
Qatar
has mixed relations with its neighbours in the Persian
Persian
Gulf region. Qatar
Qatar
signed a defence co-operation agreement with Iran, with whom it shares the largest single non-associated gas field in the world. It was the second nation, the first being France, to have publicly announced its recognition of the Libyan opposition
Libyan opposition
's National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya amidst the 2011 Libyan civil war . Qatar's flag in Libya
Libya
after the Libyan Civil War ; Qatar
Qatar
played an influential role during the Arab Spring .

In 2014, Qatar's relations with Bahrain
Bahrain
, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
, and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
came to a boiling point over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups in Syria. This culminated in the three aforementioned countries withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar
Qatar
in March 2014. _ According to the Al Jazeera America_, "Numerous reports suggest that the Saudi-led coalition against opposition groups in Yemen
Yemen
has indiscriminately attacked civilians and used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas, in violation of international law."

In recent years, Qatar
Qatar
has been using Islamist militants in a number of countries including Egypt, Syria, Libya, Somalia
Somalia
and Mali
Mali
to further its foreign policy. Courting Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood to Salafist groups has served as a power amplifier for the country, as it believes since the beginning of the Arab Spring that these groups represented the wave of the future. David Cohen, the Under Secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, said that Qatar
Qatar
is a "permissive jurisdiction for terrorist financing." There is evidence that these groups supported by Qatar include the hard-line Islamic militant groups active in northern Syria. As of 2015 , Qatar, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Turkey
Turkey
are openly backing the Army of Conquest , an umbrella group of anti-government forces fighting in the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
that reportedly includes an al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and another Salafi
Salafi
coalition known as Ahrar ash-Sham .

Qatar
Qatar
supported the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi with diplomatic support and the state-owned Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
network before he was deposed in a military coup. Qatar
Qatar
offered Egypt
Egypt
a $7.5 billion loan during the year he was in power.

Qatar's alignment with Hamas , first reported in early 2012, has drawn criticism from Israel, the United States, Egypt
Egypt
and Saudi Arabia, "who accuse Qatar
Qatar
of undermining regional stability by supporting Hamas." However, the Foreign Minister of Qatar
Qatar
has denied supporting Hamas and corrected their alleged claims, stating "We do not support Hamas but we support the Palestinians." Following a peace agreement, Qatar
Qatar
pledged $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Qatar
Qatar
has hosted academic, religious, political, and economic conferences. The 11th annual Doha
Doha
Forum recently brought in key thinkers, professionals of various backgrounds, and political figures from all over the world to discuss democracy, media and information technology, free trade, and water security issues. In addition, the forum has featured the Middle East
Middle East
Economic Future conference since 2006. In more recent times, Qatar
Qatar
has hosted peace talks between rival factions across the globe. Notable among these include the Darfur Agreement. The Doha
Doha
Declaration is the basis of the peace process in Darfur and it has achieved significant gains on the ground for the African region. Notable achievements included the restoration of security and stability, progress made in construction and reconstruction processes, return of displaced residents and uniting of Darfur people to face challenges and push forward the peace process. Qatar
Qatar
donated £88.5million in funds to finance recovery and reconstruction in Darfur.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt
Egypt
and Yemen
Yemen
broke diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Qatar
Qatar
of supporting terrorism , escalating a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood , considered a terrorist organization by those 5 Arab nations. Saudi Arabia explained the move to be a necessary measure in protecting the kingdom's security. Qatari troops were also removed from the military coalition in Yemen
Yemen
. Egypt
Egypt
closed its airspace and seaports to all Qatari transportation.

MILITARY

Main article: Qatar Armed Forces
Qatar Armed Forces
A Qatar
Qatar
Dassault Mirage 2000 flying over Libya
Libya
The US Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar
Qatar

The Qatar Armed Forces
Qatar Armed Forces
are the military forces of Qatar. The country maintains a modest military force of approximately 11,800 men, including an army (8,500), navy (1,800) and air force (1,500). Qatar's defense expenditures accounted for approximately 4.2% of gross national product in 1993, and 1.5% of gross domestic product in 2010, the most recent year available in the SIPRI statistical database. Qatar
Qatar
has recently signed defense pacts with the United States and United Kingdom, as well as with France
France
earlier in 1994. Qatar
Qatar
plays an active role in the collective defense efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council ; the other five members are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman. The presence of the large Al Udeid Air Base
Al Udeid Air Base
, operated by the United States and several other UN nations, provides a guaranteed source of defense and national security. In 2008 Qatar spent US$2.355 billion on military expenditures, 2.3% of the gross domestic product. Qatari special forces have been trained by France and other Western countries, and are believed to possess considerable skill. They also helped the Libyan rebels during the 2011 Battle of Tripoli .

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that in 2010–14 Qatar
Qatar
was the 46th-largest arms importer in the world. However, SIPRI writes, Qatar's plans to transform and significantly enlarge its armed forces have accelerated. Orders in 2013 for 62 tanks and 24 self-propelled guns from Germany were followed in 2014 by a number of other contracts, including 24 combat helicopters and 3 early-warning-and-control aircraft from the USA, and 2 tanker aircraft from Spain. In 2015, Qatar
Qatar
was the 16th largest arms importer in the world, and in 2016, it was the 11th largest, according to SIPRI.

Qatar's military participated in the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen
Yemen
against the Shia Houthis . In 2015, _ Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
America_ reported: "Numerous reports suggest that the Saudi-led coalition against opposition groups in Yemen
Yemen
has indiscriminately attacked civilians and used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas, in violation of international law." Many civilians have been killed and the large parts of the infrastructure in this region is now destroyed. Hospitals have also been bombed by the Saudis and those operating with them.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Main article: Municipalities of Qatar Municipalities of Qatar in 2004

Since 2015, Qatar
Qatar
has been divided into eight municipalities (Arabic: baladiyah ).

* Al Shamal * Al Khor * Umm Salal * Al Daayen * Al Rayyan * Doha
Doha
* Al Wakrah * Al-Shahaniya

For statistical purposes, the municipalities are further subdivided into 98 zones (as of 2015 ), which are in turn subdivided into blocks.

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of Qatar
Geography of Qatar
Desert Coast Desert landscape in Qatar
Qatar

The Qatari peninsula protrudes 160 kilometres (100 mi) into the Persian
Persian
Gulf, north of Saudi Arabia. It lies between latitudes 24° and 27° N , and longitudes 50° and 52° E . Most of the country consists of a low, barren plain , covered with sand . To the southeast lies the _ Khor al Adaid _ ("Inland Sea "), an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Persian
Persian
Gulf. There are mild winters and very hot, humid summers.

The highest point in Qatar
Qatar
is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at 103 metres (338 ft) in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestone outcroppings running north-south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border. The Jebel Dukhan area also contains Qatar's main onshore oil deposits , while the natural gas fields lie offshore, to the northwest of the peninsula.

BIODIVERSITY AND ENVIRONMENT

See also: Wildlife of Qatar Arabian oryx , the national animal of Qatar
Qatar
Ostriches in Qatar
Qatar

Qatar
Qatar
signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 11 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 21 August 1996. It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan , which was received by the convention on 18 May 2005. A total of 142 fungal species have been recorded from Qatar. A book recently produced by the Ministry of Environment documents the lizards known or believed to occur in Qatar, based on surveys conducted by an international team of scientists and other collaborators.

For two decades, Qatar
Qatar
has had the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions in the world, at 49.1 metric tons per person in 2008. Qataris are also some of the highest consumers of water per capita per day, using around 400 litres.

In 2008 Qatar
Qatar
launched its National Vision 2030 which highlights environmental development as one of the four main goals for Qatar
Qatar
over the next two decades. The National Vision pledges to develop sustainable alternatives to oil-based energy to preserve the local and global environment.

CLIMATE

CLIMATE DATA FOR QATAR

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 22 (72) 23 (73) 27 (81) 33 (91) 39 (102) 42 (108) 42 (108) 42 (108) 39 (102) 35 (95) 30 (86) 25 (77) 33.3 (91.9)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 14 (57) 15 (59) 17 (63) 21 (70) 27 (81) 29 (84) 31 (88) 31 (88) 29 (84) 25 (77) 21 (70) 16 (61) 23 (73.5)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 12.7 (0.5) 17.8 (0.701) 15.2 (0.598) 7.6 (0.299) 2.5 (0.098) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 2.5 (0.098) 12.7 (0.5) 71 (2.794)

Source: http://us.worldweatheronline.com/doha-weather-averages/ad-dawhah/qa.aspx

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of Qatar Graphical depiction of Qatar's product exports in 28 color-coded categories (2011). Commercial district in Doha.

Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting . Report prepared by local governors of Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in 1892 states that total income from pearl hunting in 1892 is 2,450,000 kran. After the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry crashed. Oil was discovered in Qatar
Qatar
in 1940, in Dukhan Field . The discovery transformed the state's economy. Now, the country has a high standard of living for its legal citizens. With no income tax , Qatar
Qatar
(along with Bahrain
Bahrain
) is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world. The unemployment rate in June 2013 was 0.1%. Corporate law mandates that Qatari nationals must hold 51% of any venture in the Emirate.

As of 2016 , Qatar
Qatar
has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. It relies heavily on foreign labor to grow its economy, to the extent that migrant workers compose 86% of the population and 94% of the workforce. Qatar
Qatar
has been criticized by the International Trade Union Confederation . The economic growth of Qatar
Qatar
has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas industries, which began in 1940. Qatar
Qatar
is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas . In 2012, it was estimated that Qatar
Qatar
would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years. The country is a member state of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), having joined in 1961. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways
Airbus A380
Airbus A380
, Qatar
Qatar
Airways, one of the world's largest airlines, links over 150 international destinations from its base in Doha
Doha
. High-rise buildings in Doha
Doha
.

In 2012, Qatar
Qatar
retained its title of richest country in the world (according to per capita income) for the third time in a row, having first overtaken Luxembourg
Luxembourg
in 2010. According to the study published by the Washington based Institute of International Finance, Qatar's per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its ranking as the world's wealthiest nation. Luxembourg
Luxembourg
came a distant second with nearly $80,000 and Singapore
Singapore
third with per capita income of about $61,000. The research put Qatar's GDP at $182bn in 2012 and said it had climbed to an all-time high due to soaring gas exports and high oil prices. Its population stood at 1.8 million in 2012. The same study published that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with assets of $115bn, was ranked 12th among the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world. Qatar Central Bank
Qatar Central Bank
's office in Doha
Doha
.

Established in 2005, Qatar Investment Authority is the country's sovereign wealth fund , specializing in foreign investment. Due to billions of dollars in surpluses from the oil and gas industry, the Qatari government has directed investments into United States, Europe, and Asia
Asia
Pacific . As of 2013 , the holdings were valued at $100 billion in assets. Qatar Holding
Qatar Holding
is the international investment arm of QIA. Since 2009, Qatar Holding
Qatar Holding
has received $30–40bn a year from the state. As of 2014 , it has investments around the world in Valentino , Siemens
Siemens
, Printemps
Printemps
, Harrods , The Shard , Barclays Bank , Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
, Paris Saint-Germain F.C. , Volkswagen Group
Volkswagen Group
, Royal Dutch Shell , Bank of America
Bank of America
, Tiffany , Agricultural Bank of China
China
, Sainsbury\'s , BlackBerry
BlackBerry
, and Santander Brasil
Santander Brasil
.

The country has no taxes, but authorities have announced plans to levy taxes on junk food and luxury items. The taxes would be implemented on goods that harm the human body - for example fast food, tobacco products, and soft drinks. The roll out of these initial taxes is believed to be due to the fall in oil prices and a deficit that the country faced in 2016. Additionally, the country has seen job cuts in 2016 from its petroleum companies and other sectors in the government.

ENERGY

Oryx GTL plant in Qatar
Qatar

As of 2012 , Qatar
Qatar
has proven oil reserves of 15 billion barrels and gas fields that account for more than 13% of the global resource. As a result, it is the richest state per-capita in the world. None of its 2 million residents live below the poverty line and less than 1% are unemployed.

Qatar's economy was in a downturn from 1982 to 1989. OPEC quotas on crude oil production, the lower price for oil , and the generally unpromising outlook on international markets reduced oil earnings. In turn, the Qatari government's spending plans had to be cut to match lower income. The resulting recessionary local business climate caused many firms to lay off expatriate staff. With the economy recovering in the 1990s, expatriate populations, particularly from Egypt
Egypt
and South Asia, have grown again.

Oil production will not long remain at peak levels of 500,000 barrels (80,000 m³) per day, as oil fields are projected to be mostly depleted by 2023. However, large natural gas reserves have been located off Qatar's northeast coast. Qatar's proved reserves of gas are the third-largest in the world, exceeding 250 trillion cubic feet (7,000 km³). The economy was boosted in 1991 by completion of the $1.5-billion Phase I of North Field gas development. In 1996, the Qatargas project began exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Further phases of North Field gas development costing billions of dollars are in various stages of planning and development.

Qatar's heavy industrial projects, all based in Umm Said, include a refinery with a 50,000 barrels (8,000 m³) per day capacity, a fertiliser plant for urea and ammonia, a steel plant, and a petrochemical plant. All these industries use gas for fuel. Most are joint ventures between European and Japanese firms and the state-owned Qatar
Qatar
General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC). The US is the major equipment supplier for Qatar's oil and gas industry, and US companies are playing a major role in North Field gas development.

Qatar's National Vision 2030 has made investment in renewable resources a major goal for the country over the next two decades. Qatar
Qatar
pursues a vigorous programme of "Qatarisation ", under which all joint venture industries and government departments strive to move Qatari nationals into positions of greater authority. Growing numbers of foreign-educated Qataris, including many educated in the US, are returning home to assume key positions formerly occupied by expatriates. To control the influx of expatriate workers, Qatar
Qatar
has tightened the administration of its foreign manpower programmes over the past several years. Security is the principal basis for Qatar's strict entry and immigration rules and regulations.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of Qatar Skyline of Doha
Doha

The number of people in Qatar
Qatar
fluctuates considerably depending on the season, since the country relies heavily on migrant labour. In early 2017, Qatar's total population was 2.6 million, of which 313,000 were Qatari citizens (12%) and 2.3 million were expatriates . Non-Arab foreigners make up the vast majority of Qatar's population; Indians are the largest community, numbering 650,000 in 2017, followed by 350,000 Nepalis , 280,000 Bangladeshis , 260,000 Filipinos , 200,000 Egyptians , 145,000 Sri Lankans
Sri Lankans
and 125,000 Pakistanis among many other nationalities.

Qatar's first demographic records date back to 1892, and were conducted by Ottoman governors in the region. Based on this census, which includes only the residents in cities, the total population in 1892 was 9,830.

POPULATIONS

YEAR POP. ±%

1904 27,000 —

1970 111,133 +311.6%

1986 369,079 +232.1%

1997 522,023 +41.4%

2004 744,029 +42.5%

2010 1,699,435 +128.4%

2013 1,903,447 +12.0%

2016 2,545,000 +33.7%

Source: Qatar
Qatar
Statistics Authority (1904–2004); 2010 Census; 2013 est. 2016

The 2010 census recorded the total population at 1,699,435. In January 2013, the Qatar
Qatar
Statistics Authority estimated the country's population at 1,903,447, of which 1,405,164 were males and 498,283 females. At the time of the first census, held in 1970, the population was 111,133. The population has tripled in the decade to 2011, up from just over 600,000 people in 2001, leaving Qatari nationals as less than 15% of the total population. The influx of male labourers has skewed the gender balance, and women are now just one-quarter of the population.

Projections released by Qatar
Qatar
Statistical Authority indicates that the total population of Qatar
Qatar
could reach 2.8 million by 2020. Qatar's National Development Strategy (2011–16) had estimated that the country's population would reach 1.78m in 2013, 1.81m in 2014, 1.84m in 2015 and 1.86m in 2016 – the yearly growth rate being merely 2.1%. But the country's population has soared to 1.83 million by the end of 2012, showing 7.5% growth over the previous year. Qatar's total population hit a record high of 2.46 million in November 2015, an increase of 8.5% from the previous year, far exceeding official projections.

RELIGION

Main article: Religion in Qatar
Religion in Qatar
Mosque in Qatar
Qatar

Religion in Qatar
Religion in Qatar
(2010) Islam
Islam
(67.7%) Christianity
Christianity
(13.8%) Hinduism (13.8%) Buddhism
Buddhism
(3.1%) Others (0.7%) Unaffiliated (0.9%)

Islam
Islam
is Qatar's predominant religion and is the official status although not the only religion practiced in the country. Most Qatari citizens belong to the Salafi
Salafi
Muslim
Muslim
movement of Wahhabism , and between 5-15% of Muslims in Qatar
Qatar
follow Shia Islam
Islam
with other Muslims sects being very small in number. Qatar
Qatar
is 67.7% Muslim
Muslim
, 13.8% Christian
Christian
, 13.8% Hindu
Hindu
, and 3.1% Buddhist
Buddhist
; other religions and religiously unaffiliated people accounted for the remaining 1.6%. Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation according to Qatar's Constitution.

The Christian
Christian
population is composed almost entirely of foreigners. Since 2008, Christians have been allowed to build churches on ground donated by the government, though foreign missionary activity is officially discouraged. Active churches include the Mar Thoma Church , Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church , the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Anglican
Anglican
Church of the Epiphany. There are also two Mormon wards .

LANGUAGES

Arabic
Arabic
is the official language of Qatar, with Qatari Arabic
Arabic
the local dialect. Qatari Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. English is commonly used as a second language, and a rising lingua franca , especially in commerce, to the extent that steps are being taken to try to preserve Arabic
Arabic
from English's encroachment. English is particularly useful for communication with Qatar's large expatriate community. Reflecting the multicultural make-up of the country, many other languages are also spoken, including Baluchi , Hindi
Hindi
, Malayalam
Malayalam
, Urdu
Urdu
, Pashto , Tamil , Telugu , Nepali , Sinhalese , Bengali , Tagalog , and Bahasa Indonesia
Bahasa Indonesia
.

In 2012, Qatar
Qatar
joined the international French-speaking organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) as a new associate member. However, in December 2013, the French daily _ Le Monde _ revealed that Qatar, which has very few native French speakers, had not yet paid any contribution to the OIF, while the outgoing Administrator of the OIF complained in 2015 that Qatar
Qatar
had not kept any of the promises it made when it joined the organisation and had never paid its annual membership fees.

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of Qatar

Qatar's culture is similar to other countries in Eastern Arabia , being significantly influenced by Islam. Qatar National Day , hosted annually on 18 December, has had an important role in developing a sense of national identity. It is observed in remembrance of Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani 's succession to the throne and his subsequent unification of the country's various tribes. Since 1 July 2008, Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari has been the Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar.

ARTS AND MUSEUMS

Main articles: Qatar Museums Authority
Qatar Museums Authority
, Collecting practices of the Al-Thani Family , and Qatari art
Qatari art
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
Doha

Several senior members of Qatar's ruling Al Thani family are noted collectors of Islamic and contemporary art.

The Museum of Islamic Art , opened in 2008, is regarded as one of the best museums in the region. This, and several other Qatari museums, like the Arab Museum of Modern Art , falls under the Qatar
Qatar
Museums Authority (_QMA_) which is led by Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani , the sister of the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar, and the prominent collector and art patron Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani . The QMA also sponsors artistic events abroad, such as major exhibitions by Takahashi Murakami in Versailles (2010) and Damien Hirst in London (2012).

Qatar
Qatar
is the world's biggest buyer in the art market by value. The Qatari cultural sector is being developed to enable the country to reach world recognition to contribute to the development of a country that comes mainly from its resources from the gas industry.

MEDIA

Main article: Media of Qatar
Media of Qatar
The news desk of Al Jazeera English , a Qatari news channel

Qatar's media was classified as "not free" in the 2014 Freedom of the Press report by Freedom House
Freedom House
. TV broadcasting in Qatar
Qatar
was started in 1970. Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
is a main television network headquartered in Doha
Doha
, Qatar. Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
initially launched in 1996 as an Arabic
Arabic
news and current affairs satellite TV channel of the same name, but has since expanded into a global network of several speciality TV channels known collectively as the Al Jazeera Media Network .

It has been reported that journalists practice self-censorship , particularly in regards to the government and ruling family of Qatar. Criticism of the government, Emir and ruling family in the media is illegal. According to article 46 of the press law "The Emir of the state of Qatar
Qatar
shall not be criticised and no statement can be attributed to him unless under a written permission from the manager of his office." Journalists are also subject to prosecution for insulting Islam
Islam
.

In 2014, a Cybercrime Prevention Law was passed. The law is said to restrict press freedom, and carries prison sentences and fines for broad reasons such as jeopardising local peace or publishing false news. The Gulf Center for Human Rights has stated that the law is a threat to freedom of speech and has called for certain articles of the law to be revoked.

Press media has undergone expansion in recent years. There are currently seven newspapers in circulation in Qatar
Qatar
, with four being published in Arabic
Arabic
and three being published in English. There are also newspapers from India, Nepal
Nepal
and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
with editions printed from Qatar.

In regards to telecommunication infrastructure, Qatar
Qatar
is the highest ranked Middle Eastern country in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI) – an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies. Qatar ranked number 23 overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, unchanged from 2013.

MUSIC

Main article: Music of Qatar
Music of Qatar

The music of Qatar
Qatar
is based on Bedouin
Bedouin
poetry, song and dance. Traditional dances in Doha
Doha
are performed on Friday afternoons; one such dance is the Ardah
Ardah
, a stylised martial dance performed by two rows of dancers who are accompanied by an array of percussion instruments , including al-ras (a large drum whose leather is heated by an open fire), tambourines and cymbals with small drums. Other percussion instruments used in folk music include _galahs_ (a tall clay jar) and tin drinking cups known as _tus_ or _tasat_, usually used in conjunction with a _tabl_, a longitudinal drum beaten with a stick. String instruments , such as the oud and rebaba , are also commonly used.

SPORT

Main article: Sport in Qatar 2015 Ladies Tour of Qatar
2015 Ladies Tour of Qatar

Association football is the most popular sport in Qatar, both in terms of players and spectators. The Qatar
Qatar
national under-20 team finished runners-up to West Germany in the 1981 FIFA World Youth Championship after a 4–0 defeat in the final. In January 2011, the Asian Football Confederation's fifteenth Asian Cup was held in Qatar. It was the second time Qatar
Qatar
had hosted the tournament, with the other instance being the 1988 edition .

On 2 December 2010, Qatar
Qatar
won their bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup , despite never previously qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Finals . Local organisers are planning to build 9 new stadiums and expand 3 existing stadiums for this event. Qatar's winning bid for the 2022 World Cup was greeted enthusiastically in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
region as it was the first time a country in the Middle East
Middle East
had been selected to host the tournament. However, the bid has been embroiled in much controversy, including allegations of bribery and interference in the investigation of the alleged bribery. European football associations have also objected to the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar
Qatar
for a variety of reasons, from the impact of warm temperatures on players' fitness, to the disruption it might cause in European domestic league calendars should the event be rescheduled to take place during winter. In May 2014, Qatari football official Mohammed bin Hammam was accused of making payments totalling £3m to officials in return for their support for the Qatar
Qatar
bid. However, a FIFA inquiry into the bidding process in November 2014 cleared Qatar
Qatar
of any wrongdoing. Qatar Emir Cup
Qatar Emir Cup
in 2009

_ The Guardian
The Guardian
_, a British national daily newspaper, produced a short documentary named "Abuse and exploitation of migrant workers preparing emirate for 2022". A 2014 investigation by The Guardian
The Guardian
reports that migrant workers who have been constructing luxurious offices for the organisers of the 2022 World Cup have not been paid in over a year, and are now "working illegally from cockroach-infested lodgings." For 2014, Nepalese migrants involved in constructing infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup died at a rate of one every two days. The Qatar 2022 organising committee have responded to various allegations by claiming that hosting the World Cup in Qatar
Qatar
would act as a "catalyst for change" in the region.

Though football is the most popular sport, other team sports have experienced considerable success at senior level. In 2015, the national handball team emerged as runners-up to France
France
in the World Men\'s Handball Championship as hosts, however the tournament was marred by numerous controversies regarding the host nation and its team. Further, in 2014, Qatar
Qatar
won the world championship in men's 3x3 basketball .

Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha
Doha
hosted the WTA Tour Championships in women's tennis between 2008 and 2010. Doha holds the WTA Premier tournament Qatar Ladies Open
Qatar Ladies Open
annually. Since 2002, Qatar
Qatar
has hosted the annual Tour of Qatar
Tour of Qatar
, a cycling race in six stages. Every February, riders are racing on the roads across Qatar's flat land for six days. Each stage covers a distance of more than 100 km, though the time trial usually is a shorter distance. Tour of Qatar
Qatar
is organised by the Qatar
Qatar
Cycling Federation for professional riders in the category of Elite Men.

The Qatar
Qatar
Army Skydiving Team has several different skydiving disciplines placing among the top nations in the world. The Qatar National Parachute team performs annually during Qatar's National Day and at other large events, such as the 2015 World Handball Championship. Doha
Doha
four times was the host of the official FIVB Volleyball Men\'s Club World Championship and three times host FIVB Volleyball Women\'s Club World Championship . Doha
Doha
one time Host Asian Volleyball Championship .

EDUCATION

Main article: Education in Qatar
Education in Qatar
UNESCO Institute for Statistics Literacy Rate Qatar
Qatar
population plus 15 1985-2015 Qatar University
Qatar University
, main area Qatar University
Qatar University
, east view

Qatar
Qatar
hired the RAND Corporation to reform its K–12 education system. Through Qatar Foundation , the country has built Education City , a campus which hosts local branches of the Weill Cornell Medical College , Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science
, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service , Northwestern\'s Medill School of Journalism , Texas A&M\'s School of Engineering , and other Western institutions.

The illiteracy rate in Qatar
Qatar
was 3.1% for males and 4.2% for females in 2012, the lowest in the Arab-speaking world, but 86th in the world. Citizens are required to attend government-provided education from kindergarten through high school. Qatar University
Qatar University
, founded in 1973, is the country's oldest and largest institution of higher education.

In November 2002, emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani created The Supreme Education Council . The Council directs and controls education for all ages from the pre-school level through the university level, including the "Education for a New Era" initiative which was established to try to position Qatar
Qatar
as a leader in education reform. According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities , the top-ranking universities in the country are Qatar University
Qatar University
(1,881st worldwide), Texas A&M University at Qatar (3,905th) and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
Qatar
(6,855th).

In 2008, Qatar
Qatar
established the Qatar
Qatar
Science padding:0.4em 2em">

* Arab world portal * Asia
Asia
portal * Middle East
Middle East
portal

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