Qatar ( in English), also
known as the State of Qatar or locally , is an
Arab emirate in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of
the larger Arabian
Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south; otherwise the Persian Gulf surrounds the state. A strait of the
Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the relatively-nearby island
nation of Bahrain.
Qatar is an oil and gas-rich nation, with the third largest
and the second highest GDP
capita in the world. An absolute
, Qatar has been ruled by the al-Thani
family since the mid-1800s and has since
transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly
into an independent state
with significant oil and natural gas revenues. During the late
1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a
continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the Amir
, who had ruled the country
since 1972. His son, the current Amir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani,
overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar
resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
may derive from "Qatara", believed to refer to the Qatari town of
Zubara, an important trading port and town in the region
in ancient times.
The word "Qatara" first appeared on
's map of the Arabian Peninsula
In Standard Arabic
the name is
pronounced , while in the local dialect it is . In English-language
broadcast media within Qatar—for example, television commercials
for Qatar Airways
concerning economic development in Qatar—the name is pronounced
"KA-tar", with a distinct differentiation between the syllables
from the forming of the 't' sound.
Recent discoveries on the edge of an
island in the West of Qatar indicate early human presence in
pre-historic Qatar. Discovery of a 6th millennium BC site at
Shagra, in the South-east of Qatar revealed the key role the sea
(Gulf) played in the lives of Shagra’s inhabitants. Excavation at
Al-Khore in the North-east of Qatar, Bir Zekrit and Ras Abaruk, and
the discovery there of pottery, flint, flint-scraper tools, and
painted ceramic vessels there indicates Qatar’s connection with the
Al-Ubaid civilization which flourished in the land between the
Tigris and the Euphrates during the period of 5th –4th millennium
BC. There had also been a barter-based trading system between the
settlements at Qatar and the Ubaid Mesopotamia, in which the
exchanged commodities were mainly pottery and dried fish.
Islam swept the entire Arabian region in the 7th century. With the
militaristic spread of Islam in Qatar, Muhammad sent his first
envoy Al Ala Al-Hadrami to Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa Al-Tamimi, the ruler
of Bahrain, which extended from the coast of Kuwait to the south of
Qatar, including al-Hasa and Bahrain Islands, in the year 628,
"inviting" him to accept Islam as he had invited other kingdoms and
empires of his time such as Byzantium and Persia. Mundhir,
responding to the Prophet’s call, announced his conversion to
Islam, and all the inhabitants of Qatar became Muslim, heralding
the beginning of the Islamic era in Qatar.
medieval times, Qatar was more often than not independent and a
participant in the great Persian Gulf–Indian
Many races and ideas were
introduced into the peninsula from Africa
South and Southeast Asia
, as well as
the Malay archipelago
. Today, the
traces of these early interactions with the oceanic world of the
Indian Ocean survive in the small minorities of races, peoples,
languages and religions, such as the presence of Africans and
After centuries-long domination by the Ottoman
, Qatar became an independent state
(but national celebration day is
Although the peninsular
land mass that
makes up Qatar has sustained humans for thousands of years, for the
bulk of its history the arid climate
fostered only short-term settlements by
British initially sought out Qatar and the Persian Gulf as an
intermediary vantage point en route to their colonial interests in India, although
the discovery of oil and other hydrocarbons in the early twentieth century
would re-invigorate their interest. During the nineteenth
century, the time of Britain’s formative ventures into the region,
the Al Khalifa clan reigned over the
Northern Qatari peninsula from the nearby island of Bahrain to the
Although Qatar had the legal status of a dependency
, resentment festered against
the Bahraini Al Khalifas along the eastern seaboard of the Qatari
peninsula. In 1867, the Al Khalifas launched a
successful effort to squash the Qatari rebels, sending a massive
naval force to Al
However, the Bahraini aggression was in
violation on the 1820 Anglo-Bahraini Treaty. The diplomatic
response of the British to this violation set into motion the
political forces that would eventuate in the founding of the state
of Qatar. In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of
agreement, the British Protectorate
(per Colonel Lewis Pelly
) asked to
with a representative from
Qatar. The request carried with it a tacit recognition of Qatar’s
status as distinct from Bahrain. The Qataris chose as their negotiator the
respected entrepreneur and long-time
resident of Doha, Muhammed
His clan, the Al Thanis
had taken relatively little part in Persian Gulf politics, but the
diplomatic foray ensured their participation in the movement
and their hegemony
as the future ruling family, a dynasty
continues to this day. The results of the negotiations left Qatar
with a new-found sense of political selfhood, although it did not
gain official standing as a British protectorate
The reach of the British Empire
diminished after the Second World
, especially following Indian independence
for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf
increased during the 1950s, and the British welcomed Kuwait's
declaration of independence in 1961.
When Britain officially
announced in 1968 that it would disengage politically (though not
economically) from the Persian Gulf in three years' time, Qatar
joined Bahrain and seven other Trucial
in a federation
. Regional disputes,
however, quickly compelled Qatar to resign and declare independence
from the coalition that would evolve into the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates.
On September 3, 1971, Qatar became an
independent sovereign state.
Qatar played a significant role in the Persian Gulf War, particularly during the
Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of
the town providing fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard
units which were fighting against units of the Iraqi Army.
Qatar also allowed Coalition
Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on
, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has ruled Qatar, seizing control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani while the latter vacationed in Switzerland. Under Emir Hamad, Qatar has experienced a notable amount of sociopolitical liberalization, including the endorsement of women's suffrage or right to vote, drafting a new constitution, and the launch of Al Jazeera, a leading English and Arabic news source which operates a website and satellite television news channel.
International Monetary Fund states that Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in
the world, followed by Luxembourg.
The World Factbook
ranks Qatar at second,
Qatar served as the headquarters and one of the main launching
sites of the US invasion of Iraq
In March 2005, a suicide-bombing
killed a British teacher at the Doha Players Theatre, shocking for
a country that had not previously experienced acts of terrorism
. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed
Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian residing in Qatar, who had suspected ties to
Al-Qaeda in the
Government and politics
Qatar has an emirate government type. Based on Islamic and civil
law codes; discretionary system of law controlled by the Amir,
although civil codes are being implemented; Islamic law dominates
family and personal matters; the country has not accepted
compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.
Before 2004, Qatar was divided into
), also occasionally or
rarely translated as governorates
- Al Ghuwariyah
- Al Jumaliyah
- Al Khawr
- Jariyan al Batnah
- Ash Shamal
Since 2004, Qatar has been divided into seven municipalities. A new
municipality, Al Daayen
, was created under
Resolution No. 13, formed from parts of Umm Salal and Al Khawr; at
the same time, Al Ghuwariyah was merged with Al Khawr; Al Jumaliyah
was merged with Ar Rayyan; and Jarayan al Batnah was split between
Ar Rayyan and Al Wakrah.
Qatar's capital, Doha.
Qatar has experienced rapid economic growth over the last several
years on the back of high oil prices, and in 2008 posted its eighth
consecutive budget surplus. Economic policy is focused on
developing Qatar's nonassociated natural gas reserves and
increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors,
but oil and gas still account for more than 50% of GDP, roughly 85%
of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas
have made Qatar the second highest per-capita income country –
following Liechtenstein – and one of the world's fastest growing.
Proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels should enable continued
output at current levels for 37 years. Qatar's proved reserves of
natural gas are nearly 26 trillion cubic meters, about 14% of the
world total and third largest in the world. The drop in oil prices
in late 2008 and the global financial crisis will reduce Qatar's
budget surplus and may slow the pace of investment and development
projects in 2009.
Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region
focused on fishing
and pearl hunting
. After the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto
the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry
However, the discovery of oil
beginning in the 1940s, completely transformed the state's economy.
Now the country has a high standard
, with many social services offered to its citizens
and all the amenities of any modern state.
Qatar’s national income primarily derives from oil and natural gas exports
country has oil reserves of 15 billion barrels (2.4 km³
), while gas reserves in the giant North
Field (South Pars
for Iran) which
straddles the border with Iran and are almost as large as the
peninsula itself are estimated to be between to (1 trillion cubic
feet is equivalent to about of oil). Qatar is sometimes referred to
as the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Qataris’ wealth and
standard of living compare well
with those of Western European
states; Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the Arab World
according to the International Monetary Fund (2006) and the second highest GDP per capita in the
world according to the CIA World Factbook. With no income tax, Qatar, along with Bahrain, is one of
the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world.
While oil and gas will probably remain the backbone of Qatar’s
economy for some time to come, the country seeks to stimulate the
private sector and develop a “knowledge economy
”. In 2004, it
established the Qatar Science &
to attract and serve technology
-based companies and entrepreneurs,
from overseas and within Qatar. Qatar also established Education
City, which consists of international colleges.
15th Asian Games in Doha, it established Doha Sports
City, consisting of Khalifa stadium, the Aspire
Sports Academy, aquatic centres, exhibition centres and many other
sports related buildings and centres.
Following the success
of the Asian Games, Doha kicked off an official bid to host the
2016 Summer Olympics
2007. Qatar also plans to build an "entertainment city" in the
Qatar aims to become a role model
economic and social transformation in the region. Large scale
in all social and economic
sectors will also lead to the development of a strong financial
The Qatar Financial Centre
(QFC) provides financial institutions with world class services in
investment, margin and no-interest loans, and capital support.
These platforms are situated in an economy founded on the
development of its hydrocarbons resources, specifically its
exportation of petroleum. It has been created with a long term
perspective to support the development of Qatar and the wider
region, develop local and regional markets, and strengthen the
links between the energy based economies and global financial
Apart from Qatar itself, which needs to raise capital to finance
projects of more than $130 billion, the QFC also provides a conduit
for financial institutions to access nearly $1.0 trillion of
investments which stretch across the GCC as a whole over the next
town of Lusail, the largest
project ever in Qatar, is under construction.
Transportation in Qatar
Qatar has no railroads
, but in November
2009, its government signed a $26 billion contract with the German
company Deutsche Bahn
to construct a
railroad system over the next 20 years, including connections with
Qatar has a highway system, including a few expressways.
Otherwise, transportation in Qatar is by coastline sea vessels, by
transportation, on camelback, and
on foot. Qatar does have its own international airline.
Qatar has the highest per-capita carbon
emissions, of 55.5 metric tons per person (2005) .
almost double the next highest per-capita emitting country, which
is Kuwait at 30.7
metric tons (2005).
Qatar has had the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions for
the past 18 years .
Desert landscape in Qatar
Qatari peninsula juts north into the
Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia and is slightly smaller than the
state of Massachusetts, USA.
Map of Qatar
of the country consists of a low, barren plain
, covered with sand
southeast lies the spectacular Khor al Adaid (“Inland Sea”), an
area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Persian Gulf.
There are mild
winters and very hot, humid summers.
highest point in Qatar is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at in the Jebel Dukhan
to the west, a range of low limestone
outcropping running north-south from Zikrit
Bab to the southern border.
The Jebel Dukhan
area also contains Qatar’s main onshore oil
, while the natural gas
lie offshore, to the northwest of the peninsula.
is the predominant Religion and makes up
77.5% of the population of Qatar and all others make up the
Muslims constitute 98% percent of Muslim
population. The majority of noncitizens are from South and
Southeast Asian and Arab countries working on temporary employment
contracts, accompanied by family members in some cases. Most
noncitizens are Sunni or Shi'a Muslims, Christians
, or Bahá'ís. Most foreign workers and
their families live near the major employment centers of Doha, Al
Khor, Mesaieed, and Dukhan.
Hindu community is almost exclusively
Indian, while Buddhists include
South, Southeast, and East Asians.
Most Bahá'ís come from
Iran. Religion is not a criterion for citizenship, according to the
Nationality Law. However, nearly all Qatari citizens are either
Sunni or Shi'a Muslims, except for at least one Christian, a few
Bahá'ís, and their respective families who were granted
No foreign missionary groups operate openly in the country, but in
2008 the government allowed some churches to conduct mass. In March
2008 the Roman Catholic Church
“Our Lady of the Rosary” was
consecrated in Doha.
Almost all Qataris profess Islam
, much of the population migrated
from various nations to work in the country’s oil industry
serves as the official language.
However, English as well as many other languages like Hindi
, and Persian
are widely spoken in Qatar.
form the majority of Qatar’s
residents. The petrochemical industry has attracted people from all
around the world. Most of the expatriates come from South Asia
and from non-oil-rich Arab states.
Because a large percentage of the expatriates are male, Qatar has a
heavily skewed sex ratio, with 3.46 males per female.
In July 2007, the country had a growing population of approximately
907,229 people, of whom approximately 350,000 were believed to be
citizens. Qatari citizens follow the dominant Hanbali branch of
Islam practiced in neighboring Saudi Arabia, therefore it is
considered the culturally closest Persian Gulf state to Saudi
The majority of the estimated 800,000 non-citizens are individuals
from South and South East Asian and Arab countries working on
temporary employment contracts in most cases without their
accompanying family members. Most foreign workers and their families live
near the major employment centers of Doha, Al Khor, Messaeed, and Dukhan.
The population of Qatar is currently about 833,285.
Qatari culture (music, art, dress, and cuisine) is extremely
similar to that
Arab countries of the
. Arab tribes from Saudi Arabia migrated to Qatar
and other places in the gulf; therefore, the culture in the Persian
Gulf region varies little from country to country.
Qatar explicitly uses Sharia law as the basis of its government,
and the vast majority of its citizens follow Hanbali Madhhab
(Arabic: حنبلى ) is one of the four schools (Madhhabs) of Fiqh or
religious law within Sunni Islam (The other three are Hanafi,
Maliki and Shafii). Sunni Muslims believe that all four schools
have "correct guidance", and the differences between them lie not
in the fundamentals of faith, but in finer judgments and
jurisprudence, which are a result of the independent reasoning of
the imams and the scholars who followed them. Because their
individual methodologies of interpretation and extraction from the
primary sources (rusul) were different, they came to different
judgments on particular matters.Shi'as
comprise around 2% of the Muslim population in Qatar.
contrasted with other Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, for instance, Qatar has comparatively liberal
laws, but is still not as liberal as some other Arab states of the Persian
Gulf like UAE or Bahrain.
Qatar is a civil law
jurisdiction. However, Shari'a
law is applied to aspects of family law
and certain criminal acts
. Women can legally drive in Qatar
and there is a strong emphasis in equality and human rights brought
by Qatar's National Human Rights Committee
The country has undergone a period of liberalization and
modernisation during the reign of the current Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani
came to power in 1995. The laws of Qatar tolerate alcohol
to a certain extent. However, public bars
and nightclubs in Qatar operate only in expensive hotels and clubs,
much like in the UAE, though the number of establishments has yet
to equal that of UAE.
Expatriate residents in Qatar are eligible to receive liquor
permits permitting them to purchase alcohol for personal use
through Qatar Distribution Company, the exclusive importer and
retailer for alcohol in Qatar. Qatar has further been liberalised
due to the 15th Asian Games, but is cautious of becoming too
liberal in their law. Overall Qatar has yet to reach the more
western laws of UAE or Bahrain, and though plans are being made for
more development, the government is cautious.
In common with other Persian Gulf Arab countries, sponsorship laws
exist in Qatar. These laws have been widely described as akin to
modern-day slavery. The Sponsorship system (Kafeel or Kafala)
exists throughout the GCC and means that a worker (not a tourist)
may not enter the country without having a kafeel, cannot leave
without the kafeel's permission (an Exit Permit must first be
awarded by the sponsor, or kafeel), and the sponsor has the right
to ban the employee from entering Qatar within 2–5 years of his
first departure. Many sponsors do not allow the transfer of one
employee to another sponsor.
In recent years Qatar has placed great emphasis on education
. Citizens are required to attend
government provided education from kindergarten
through high school
was founded in 1973. More recently, with the support of the
Qatar Foundation, some major
American universities have opened branch campuses in Education City, Qatar. These include Carnegie
Mellon University, Georgetown University School of Foreign
Service, Texas A&M University, Virginia Commonwealth
University, Cornell University’s Weill
Cornell Medical College and Northwestern University.
In 2004, Qatar established the Qatar Science &
at Education City to link those universities
with industry. Education City is also home to a fully accredited International Baccalaureate
school, Qatar Academy
. Two Canadian
institutions, the College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary, also operate campuses in Doha.
established campuses in the city .
In 2009, the Qatar Foundation
launches the World
Innovation Summit for Education
– WISE – a global forum that
brings together education
opinion leaders and decision makers from all over the world to
discuss educational issues. The first edition will be held in Doha, Qatar from
November 16 to 18 2009.
Moreover, in 2007 the American Brookings Institution
it was opening the Brookings Doha Center to undertake research and
programming on the socio-economic and geo-political issues facing
In November 2002, the 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” reform
The Emir’s second wife, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser
, has been instrumental in new education initiatives
in Qatar. She chairs the Qatar Foundation, sits on the board of
Qatar’s Supreme Education Council, and is a major driving force
behind the importation of Western expertise into the education
system, particularly at the college level.
There are currently a total of 567 schools in operation within
Qatar, both in the public and the private sector. A large number of
new schools are also under construction, particularly public
schools, in order to meet increased demand which arose as a result
of the large increase in population that the country has seen of
late. The number of universities operating in the country are 9,
serving 12,480 students.
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the premier non-profit health
care provider in Doha, Qatar. Established by the Emiri decree in
1979, HMC manages four highly specialised hospitals: Hamad General
Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Women’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital
and the Primary Health Care Centres.
Qatar has a modern telecommunication system centered in Doha.
Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and UAE; submarine
cable to Bahrain and UAE; satellite earth stations – two Intelsat
(one Atlantic Ocean and one Indian Ocean) and one Arabsat. Callers
can call Qatar using submarine cable, satellite or VoIP. However,
has interfered with VoIP systems in the
past, and Skype's website has been blocked before. Following
complaints from individuals, the website has been unblocked, and
Paltalk has been permanently blocked.
Qtel’s ISP branch, Internet Qatar, uses SmartFilter to block
websites they deem inappropriate to Qatari interests and
In Qatar, ictQATAR
(Supreme Council of
Information and Communication Technology) is the government agency
, in partnership with
the Qatar Foundation, received the second public mobile networks
and services license in Qatar on 28 June 2008 and switched on their
mobile network on 1 March 2009. They launched 07/07/09, opening
first followed by retail and third party distribution
locations throughout Doha.
Al Jazeera (Arabic: الجزيرة, al-ğazīrä,
[al.dʒaˈziː.ra], meaning “The Peninsula”) is a television network
headquartered in Doha,
Al Jazeera initially launched as an Arabic
news and current affairs satellite
TV channel of the same name, but has
since expanded into a network of several specialty TV channels.
Print media is going through expansion, with over three English
dailies and Arabic titles. Qatar Today is the only monthly business
magazine in the country. It is published by Oryx Advertising, which
is the largest magazine publisher in Qatar. The group also
publishes several titles like Qatar Al Youm, the only monthly
business magazine in Qatar in Arabic language, Woman Today, the
only magazine for working women, and GLAM, the only fashion
Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and
Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently
trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and
laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation;
the most common offence was forcing workers to accept worse
contract terms than those under which they were recruited; other
conditions include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions
on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual
to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State
Department, men and women who are lured into Qatar by promises
of high wages are often forced into underpaid labor.
report states that Qatari laws against forced labour are rarely
enforced and that labour laws often result in the detention of
victims in deportation centres, pending the completion of legal
proceedings. The report places Qatar at tier 3, as one of the
countries that neither satisfies the minimum standards or
demonstrates significant efforts to come into compliance.
The government maintains that it is setting the benchmark when it
comes to human rights
and treatment of
Qatari contracting agency Barwa is constructing a residential area
for laborers known as Barwa Al Baraha, also called Workers City.
project was launched after a recent scandal in Dubai's Labor
The project aims to provide a reasonable
standard of living as defined by the new Human Rights Legislation.
The Barwa Al Baraha will cost around $1.1 billion and will be a
completely integrated city in the industrial area in Doha. Along
with 4.25 square meters of living space per person, the residential
project will provide parks, recreational areas, malls, and shops
for labourers. Phase one of the project was set to be completed at
the end of 2008, and the project itself will be completed by the
middle of 2010.
- CMU Pronouncing Dictionary
- "The most accurate English estimate is something halfway
between 'cutter' and 'gutter.' It's not 'KUH-tar,' the
pronunciation that has become the standard among overseas TV and
- Johnstone, T.M. " ." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P.
Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P.
Heinrichs. Brill, 2008. Brill Online. 04 April 2009 
- Municipalities of Qatar, Statoids.com
- AlDaayen Municipality
- International Monetary Fund,
World Economic Outlook Database, October 2007, for the year 2006:
- World Resources Institute Climate Analysis Indicator Tool
(requires free registration)
- CIA The World Fact Book
- The population of Qatar
- Qatar - Country overview, Location and size,
Population, Industry, Mining, Manufacturing, Services,
- CGIS Home Page - Main Section
- Current population in Qatar, Doha
- . According to zawya.com, the web link “is the unofficial
translation by The Peninsula team of the 57-page Arabic text of the
report released by the National Human Rights Committee