|World Watch List Rank||World Watch List Score|
|Emir Sheikh Tamim||2.3 million | 212,000 Christians|
|WWL Rank in 2017||Persecution Level|
|20||Very High Persecution|
Seen as apostates, Christian believers from a Muslim background (BMBs) are at serious risk if they openly practise their faith. Outward symbols of Christianity are banned, as is evangelism. Around 80 per cent of the population are migrant workers, predominantly from poorer countries. Though expat or migrant Christians are granted some freedom to worship, if caught evangelising to Muslims, they could be arrested and deported.
Nearly all Qatari citizens are by definition Sunni or Shia Muslims, and the state religion is the strict Wahhabi version of Islam.
Qatar's government, made wealthy through the country's gas and oil reserves, exports fundamentalist Islam by financing Islamic militant groups reportedly in Iraq, Syria and Mali - some responsible for pressurising and persecuting Christians - and funding the building of Mosques in Europe and Africa.
Christians within the country face many restrictions. Only Muslims are allowed to worship in public. Evangelising to Muslims is forbidden, and converting from Islam to another religion carries the death sentence, although there is no record of such a sentence being carried out since the country gained independence in 1971.
Qatari citizens are vastly outnumbered by migrant workers - only 20 per cent of the population is Qatari. Migrant workers are treated almost like slaves; they face overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions in 'labour camps', violence and sexual abuse, and are frequently underpaid. Being a Christian can add to their vulnerability, and they are often under pressure to convert to Islam. However, there are a few Christian complexes in the desert where Christians are allowed to worship.Muslims who choose to become Christians must keep their belief a secret; they risk being ostracised by their families and communities, physical violence or even honour killing if their faith is discovered. It is a great disgrace for a family if one of their members leaves Islam. Almost all Qatari believers become Christians abroad and usually do not return to Qatar out of fear.
However, the number of migrant Christians is growing; let's pray that the same will be true of Qatari believers, even if their faith is only known to them and God.
Open Doors supports the church in Qatar by raising prayer and awareness.