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Thursday, February 25, 2021

A nation divided: Residents reflect on Qatar’s diversity

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As Qatar’s population grows, its residents appear to be finding it increasingly harder to live in harmony, or at least mutual understanding. 

That’s the conclusion reached by the Peninsula in a series of articles published today. Spurred by recent allegations of impropriety by Western employees at the Qatar Museums Authority, the newspaper looks into social problems caused by Qatar’s increasingly imbalanced population.

Striking a balanceBridging the citizen-expat gap and Citizens discriminated against present controversial views from both sides of the divide. 

The series only appears to touch on the surface of expat-national relations, and does not include what both groups have in common – ie concerns about the rising cost of living, increasing road congestion or National Day pride.

But its key themes – cultural differences, racism/class issues and workplace clashes, are undoubtedly issues of concern for many of the people living and working here. 

These points include:

  • That many Qataris feel their government is favoring Westerners by giving them influential, well paid jobs, when they feel a national with a relevant qualification should have been appointed instead;
  • That conversely, many expats professionals feel that educational qualifications are taking precedent over work experience, and that Qataris should not expect a management job straight after graduation;
  • That there’s very little mixing between nationals and expats;
  • That Qataris “view Asian expats differently,” because, to quote the newspaper, “as they are mostly in private jobs that locals abhor due to lower pay and perks, there is hardly any clash of interest.” The paper also adds that locals feel Indians are “closer to their culture;” and
  • That Qataris see Westerners as coming from an “alien culture” with a “mercenary outlook.”

Reaction to the series on Twitter has been divided:

What do you think about the state of expat/Qatari relations here? Thoughts?
Credit: Photo by Museum of Islamic Art on Facebook

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