Qatar, The Catholic Church in

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Qatar is an independent emirate occupying the peninsula of the same name which projects into the Persian Gulf southeast of bahrein. (For map, see the entry on the united arab emirates.) It covers an area of approximately 4400 square miles, with the capital at Doha, on the eastern coast. The land is almost entirely barren desert, with small areas of pasture; only one percent is arable. Before 1949, Qatar's main source of income was from pearl fisheries on the coast; after that date, it became an important producer of petroleum. In World War I, when its bonds with the Ottoman Empire were broken, it became an independent sheikdom under British protection; it became an independent state and a member of the United Nations on September 3, 1971.

The vast majority of Qatari people are Muslim (95 percent). The majority of Catholics are foreign workers. Qatari Catholics are under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia, with its seat in Abu Dhabi, in the neighboring United Arab Emirates.

[l. f. hartman/eds.]