Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera is a Qatar-based television network which began broadcasting in 1996. Al Jazeera grew in notoriety in the West for its highly critical coverage of the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq. Connections with Islamists facilitated access to people that other networks didn’t have, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Not only was Al Jazeera the first global network on the ground in Afghanistan, it could offer interviews with Taliban leaders. It was also the first network during the war that could bypass Pentagon restrictions on images of violence, which are...

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Al-Thani Family

The al-Thani family, a member of the Tamimi tribe, is the ruling family of Qatar. Unlike other Arab rulers, the family is neither a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad nor of long-standing tenure in their kingdom; rather, their rise to power was the result of British and Ottoman imperial politics. As their rise parallels the creation of an independent Qatar, the two entities are inextricably linked. 

The British designation of the al-Thanis as monarchs of Qatar was by no means assured as there were other families with greater connections, power, and/or longevity in the...

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Christianity in Qatar

Roughly 9.6% of Qatar’s population is Christian, the overwhelming majority of which are Filipino, Indian, and Lebanese noncitizen workers though may include some Qatari converts from Islam. Foreign missionary groups are not permitted to work in the country. Prior to the ongoing construction of Churches, Christians met in private homes and community centers for worship. Both the government and Christian leaders promote a need for discretion and friendly communication, and Christian symbols are not permitted on the exterior of church buildings.


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Education City

Education City is a 2,500-acre “multiversity” campus on the western edge of Doha. The campus includes eight universities offering a variety of degree programs, a science and technology park, teaching hospital, medical research center, the Qatar Convention Center, and the Al Jazeera Children’s Channel. The development is part of Qatar National Vision 2030, the country’s plan to transition from a hydrocarbon-based to a knowledge-based economy. The government earmarks 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product towards research and development activities carried out there.

The project...

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Judaism in Qatar

Judaism is an officially recognized religion by the state of Qatar, though no data is available on the size of Qatar’s Jewish non-citizen population. While the government officially protects the three Abrahamic faiths, for example, by issuing fines for derogatory speech, it has yet to punish newspapers and other publications in Qatar that run offensive images referring to Jews or to Israel. No reports of religious discrimination, either from the government or Qatari populace, were recorded in 2011 and 2012.

In 2005, Jewish leaders attended the Third Annual Interfaith Forum for...

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Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (b. 1952) reigned as Emir of Qatar from 1995 to 2013, when he stepped down in favor of Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a son by his second wife, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Misnad. Frustrated with the innate conservatism of his own father’s government, especially the slow speed of economic growth and development, Sheikh Hamad took power in a successful coup. Upon assuming power, Sheikh Hamad promised extensive economic and political reform.  While some of the promised political liberalization occurred, including the enfranchisement of women and the...

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Sheikha Mayassa Bint Hamad al-Thani

    Sheikha Mayassa Bint Hamad al-Thani<strong> </strong>(b. 1983) is a member of the Qatari ruling family and a prominent art collector. She is the sister of Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the daughter of former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned. Sheikha Mayassa’s accomplishments in the Qatari and Gulf arts world are many, including chairing Qatar Museums since 2006—an aggregate of various contemporary and historical art and culture museums—chairing the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, and she...

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Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Misnad

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Misnad (b. 1959) is the mother of the current emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the second wife and consort of the former emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. A decidedly visible presence during her husband’s reign, she served in various high profile positions both domestically and abroad.

Sheikha Mozah is the daughter of Nasser bin Abdullah al-Misnad. Al-Misnad was critical of the former monarch, and made public appeals for a more equitable distribution of wealth amongst the Qatari citizenry, leading to his arrest and imprisonment....

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Shi'ism in Qatar

Qatar is remarkable in the region for its well-integrated Shi’a Muslim community, which makes up roughly 5-20% of the population and which represents some of the nation’s most prominent merchant families. Most of the Shi’a immigrated from Iran during the waning days of the Qajar period in the late nineteenth century, or during the 1960s and 1970s. Though Shi’a Muslims participate in various institutions across society, the government regards them warily, particularly following anti-government protests in neighboring Bahrain led by the nation’s large and disempowered Shi’a community...

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Tribal Families in Qatar

Qatar is home to a number of tribal families in addition to the ruling al-Thani family. These include the al-Khalifa, the al-Sudan, the al-Saud, the Utubi, the Bani Khalid, the Qawasim, the al-Musallam, the al-Ainain, the al-Attiyah, and the al-Kuwari. Several of these families, such as the al-Sudan and the al-Musallam, predate the al-Thani family’s arrival in Qatar. The al-Khalifa and the al-Saud are kin to the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, respectively, while the al-Sudan and the Bani Khalid are among Doha’s oldest residents. The latter received exceptional rights and privileges...

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