Qatar Christians celebrate consecration of new church
Qatar has been making progress in respecting freedom of religion by allowing for construction of churches.
By: James Hartfield
06/17/2009 Qatar (Christian Today India)-The Christian community in Qatar celebrates the opening of the new Mar Thoma Church in Doha last Thursday, 11 June witnessed by more than one thousand faithful.
The place of worship is the latest addition to the Inter-Denominational Church Complex, (IDCC) in Mesaimeer, in the southern suburbs of Doha , the capital of Qatar .
Inaugurated as the second church in the country on April this year, the IDCC is to host churches for Malabar Orthodox, Syro Malabar, Mar Thoma, Church of South India (CSI), Pentecost and other evangelical groups. The complex of churches is spread over an area of 4800 square metres. The churches are being consecrated one by one.
Strict Islamic laws had previously barred the country’s Christian community from public prayer and religious services.
In 2005, however, pro-Western ruler Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani granted permission for the construction of Christian churches, in a move to open up and demonstrate an Islam tolerant of other religions.
As estimated 150,000 Christians of all denominations live in the emirate. About two third of them are Catholic expatriate workers from the Philippines , India and other Asian nations.