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Posted On: 17 June 2020 02:55 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:22 pm

US religious freedom report hails Qatar for respecting minority religions

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Qatar was recently praised for respecting minority religions by the newly appointed Ambassador Greta Holtz (Chargé d’Affaires at U.S. Embassy in Qatar) in a tweet last week.

Ambassador Holtz has also announced the release of the “US State Department annual report to the U.S. Congress on international religious freedom which describes the status of government policies violating and promoting religious practices and beliefs.”

2019 International Religious Freedom Report

The 2019 International Religious Freedom Report on Qatar documented the religious demography in Qatar, the status of the government and societal respect for religious freedom, and US government policy and engagement.

In the tweet, Ambassador Holtz also highlighted the Ministry of Culture and Sports’ approval for a "Christian musical concert in Doha for the second year in a row, attended by thousands". As stated in the report, the US embassy worked with the Ministry to secure approvals (as it did in 2018) for the Christian musical performance, in which 15,000 people attended in November 2019.

The report also mentioned how the government continued to provide worship space for registered religious groups and allowed non-registered religious groups to worship privately.

Apart from Sunni and Shia Muslims, eight Christian denominations are registered as religious groups in the country. Mesaymeer Religious Complex (Church City), a government-owned land, continues to provide worship space for the registered eight Christian denominations, the report says.

As for the non-registered religious groups, Qatar continued to permit them to “worship privately (in rented villas, their homes, workplaces, and with others), although they lacked authorized facilities in which to practice their faiths” due to non-application as a registered group. Unregistered churches were also allowed to worship at Mesaymeer under the patronage of a registered Christian group.

“The MOI allowed more than 100 house churches to operate throughout the country, including 90 that were allocated to members of the Evangelical Church Alliance in Qatar.”, it stated.