Inter-faith Dialogue in Qatar: Trends and Challenges

Asim Koldzo, MSt.
University of Oxford, Prospective DPhil Candidate and Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies Scholarship Recipient

Over the last decade, Qatar has set out to sponsor a number of high-profile interfaith dialogue initiatives such as the establishment of the Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID), the organisation of Doha Annual Interfaith Conferences, and the opening of several churches. This research probes motivations behind and effects of this state patronage using both qualitative and quantitative methods. In doing so, three major questions are explored. One, what is motivating Qatar’s patronage of interfaith dialogue? Two, who are the main interfaith dialogue players inside Qatar and what form does this dialogue take? And three, most importantly, what are the effects of these initiatives on Qatar’s many religious communities?

In short, the research suggests that Qatar’s foreign policy is the main determinant of the emirate’s interest in interfaith dialogue; that the number of interfaith dialogue players is limited, with interfaith dialogue currently taking place on elite level only; and that huge potential for grassroots interfaith dialogue remains under utilised.

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