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Friday, February 26, 2021

No changes coming to citizenship laws, Qatar tells UN

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United Nations

In response to calls from several other countries at a recent United Nations session, Qatar has said it does not have any plans to grant full citizenship to the children of Qatari mothers and non-Qatari fathers.

Citizenship is passed down differently for male and female nationals in Qatar. Children with a Qatari father receive citizenship, but babies born to a Qatari mother and foreign father do not.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council completed its periodic review of Qatar’s human rights record – a process that nearly 50 countries undergo each year.

In total, other nations made some 183 recommendations on how Qatar could improve its performance, including the ratification of various international treaties and passing laws to better protect migrant workers, among others.

Qatar rejected 38 of those suggestions, including four – submitted by France, Greece, Mexico and Norway – to grant citizenship to the children of Qatari women and foreign men.

In his opening remarks, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani – Qatar’s assistant minister for international co-operation affairs – did not address the issue directly, but offered a general explanation for why the Gulf country couldn’t accept some recommendations:

“The state of Qatar could not accept a number of them in full because they contained items that are incompatible with the provisions of Islamic law, Qatar’s constitution or because they touch upon the national identity.”

Half-Qataris

Calls to reform the country’s citizenship laws have been circulating for several years. While human rights organizations argue it’s an issue of equality, others have focused on the practical implications for the children of Qatari mothers and non-Qatari fathers living in this country.

In a 2011 report, the Peninsula noted that they are treated as foreigners and must periodically renew their residency permits. They are denied privileges such as free electricity and water, subsidised food products and free education, as well as many of the government jobs set aside for nationals.

More recently, a debate on Twitter explored how the country’s citizenship laws affect the self-identity of so-called “half-Qataris.”

Amal Al-Malki – a university professor born to a Qatari father and a Lebanese mother – started the online discussion in June and told Doha News at the time that she believed some “half Qataris” are sidelined due to an “anxiety” about foreigners within the community:

“Modernity has brought in an influx of foreigners to the country, making us a minority in our own land. We have developed an anxiety from non-Qataris unfortunately, and we tend to preserve our culture through making it hard for outsiders to ‘invade’ it. We speak of purity of lineage and cultural cohesion as if we live in an island of our own.”

Migrant rights

Gender equality was only one of a wide range of Qatar-related issues raised at last week’s UN session.

Roughly two dozen recommendations dealt with migrant workers and Qatar’s kafala sponsorship system, which is routinely blamed for enabling the abuse of laborers in this country.

Employers currently wield significant power over foreign workers and can prevent them from changing jobs and leaving the country.

In May, government officials proposed several changes to the country’s labor laws. While ministers often speak of replacing kafala with “employment contracts,” the proposals would still include restrictions on changing jobs, and mechanisms that allow sponsors to object to foreigners leaving the country.

While the legislation is still being considered and may not be implemented until next year, the government has used the proposals to fend off criticism in international forums about the abuse of migrants in Qatar.

At the UN last week, Al-Thani reminded the Human Rights Committee of Qatar’s “intentions to undertake considerable reforms” to protect migrant laborers.

Qatar said it accepted calls by Costa Rica to “consider abolishing the kafala system for all migrant workers and eliminating the exit permit system,” as well as Australia’s suggestion to “remove the requirement in the law on sponsorship for foreign nationals to obtain the permission of their current employer before moving jobs or leaving the country,” among others.

However, Qatar rejected a recommendation from the Czech Republic to protect individuals’ right to freely associate, as well as a more explicit suggestion from Spain to permit trade unions – something labor advocates have said will lead to improved living and working conditions for expats.

Some of the country’s business leaders have said the lack of unions gives companies in Qatar a competitive advantage.

Last week, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al Baker told Bloomberg that he “feels sorry” for his counterpart at German airline Lufthansa, which has experienced several recent strikes and threats of labor action.

“I’m sure he envies me very much, because we don’t have to take the crap of the unions.”

Al-Thani said Qatar plans to apply for a seat at the UN Human Rights Council for the 2015-17 term, a position it’s held twice in the past.

Thoughts?

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Ali
Ali
6 years ago

I think not giving citizenship to half Qataris is pure hypocrisy and gender discrimination and nothing else. I don’t know any Islamic law against it.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

I know it’s useless to explain here, but:

There’s no such thing as “half Qatari”. Someone either is, or isn’t.

In Qatar, a person carries the name and nationality of their father. This goes by the Quranic verse “ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِندَ اللَّهِ” …

http://quran.com/33/5

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

There nothing about nationality in the Quran…its talks about the father’s name only. Do quote me the verse where it says nationality ? Did they not have tribes during prophet’s time ? Was there even a defined law on nationality those days ? Or could it be that … we have inserted nationality during the interpretation of the Quranic verse ?

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Nationality is a brand new invention… Quran doesn’t even directly say “name” … Its more literally “call them by their fathers”.

Yes. No verse says nationality. Yes, they had tribes. No they didn’t have nationalities or “nation states”. WE HAVEN’T INSERTED ANTYTHING. See Amber’s reply.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

A child can be called by his father’s name and still get all the facilities provided by the state like equal citizen. There is nothing unislamic in it.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

How about we move on from the Middle Ages and go secular. I don’t have anything against religion but the man in the moon is demanding he be recognised.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

A LC and Blackberry is a new invention….Villlagio is a new invention…airplanes are new invention…a concrete palace is a new invention…

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

I have read Amber’s reply and from what she has written … she has connected a religious text to a modern creation – nationality…. when she said ‘a Qatari woman marries a Jordanian, that child’s heritage is Jordanian’ but yet all that she said is void when she mentioned that there is no mention of nationality in Islam BUT the assistant minister says ‘“The state of Qatar could not accept a number of them in full because they contained items that are incompatible with the provisions of Islamic law, Qatar’s constitution or because they touch upon the national identity.” .
So…what is Islamic and what is constitutional ? What is supreme to Qatar ? God’s law which NEVER mentioned nationality or a man made constitution to cater to some xenophobic inferiority complex. Maybe… Qatar should just leave God’s text out of their explanation and instead come out clean and say … ‘ It’s what we want ! We donot like our women marrying foreigners to protect our national identity ! BUT … HEY… THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM. ITS JUST OUR INTERPRETATION OF NAZISM !!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Nationality is a curse, the accident of being born somewhere can decide your future for better or worse. We are all part of the same genetic family that left Africa approx 60,000 years ago, nation states are an artifical construct.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

What ever the term is but we are talking about gender discrimination here. And no, you are taking Quranic verse in the wrong direction. It talks about lineage and not nationality or citizenship. A child can keep his father’s lineage even he is not Qatari and still be Qatari citizen.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

I do not think we can stretch the meaning of the verse to make it applicable to nationality. The fact that you take the name of your dad (to be accurate, family name) does not mean that you should take (or not) with it a specific nationality. So if I follow your reasoning, for a “half-Qatari” to take the Qatari nationality would be against Islam teachings? What about those who have dual nationalities? Is that also a worse sin?

The closest thing to nationality in Islam is tribal affiliation. Again, this verse has nothing to do with that, and I cannot find any example of any scholar who explained the verse with relation to tribes.

Now let’s keep religion aside. The whole “Half-Qatari” debate is about tradition. It is not well perceived in the Qatari society to see a Qatari woman married to a foreigner. In many cases, Qatari women marry without the consent of their parents, or with a forced consent, by making their marriage a “fait accompli” without which the family will be in deep embarrassment in front of relatives and friends.

It also about money and benefits. The Qatari government is not willing to stretch its generous benefits to people who were born here, who lived here for decades, or who even happen to have a Qatari mother. Even though for the two first cases it might be (and I emphasize “might be”) understandable, for the case of “half-Qataris” it is a bit of a nonsense in my opinion.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

And on Judgement Day, we will be called upon by our mother’s name, not our father’s.

This whole issue is not Islamic, it’s gender discrimination. #JustSaying

James Aberdeen
James Aberdeen
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

So, do you personally think this is fair?
Do you think the rules which applied 1000 years ago should be applied now?

I am just curious to know your personal opinion on this one?
thx

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  James Aberdeen

1. Life is not fair.

2. Yes, I think the rules [of islam] which applied 1000 years ago should be applied now.

James Aberdeen
James Aberdeen
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

I feel so dumb now hehe..
For the longest time, I thought that Islam teaches us all to be fair with others. Thank you, now I know 🙂

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  James Aberdeen

LOL. Your reply is illogical…

Amber
Amber
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

There’s nothing about nationality in Islam. However Islam basis heritage and lineage through the father. So whatever thr father is the child is. So if a Qatari woman marries a Jordanian, that child’s heritage is Jordanian.

I find it hypocritical though how a Qatari man’s illegitimate child can obtain Qatari citizens when Islam says the child born out of wedlock takes the heritage and name of the bed they were born (the mother) and the the child has no ties to the father.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

The “bed” isn’t the mother’s name…

Before DNA evidence, the only thing one can prove is who the child’s mother is: In the case of a child of a married woman, it is always assigned to her husband. If she wasn’t married there was no way to know if a man was the father.

In modern days, many countries approve of forcing DNA testing to prove it.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

forcing?

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

That’s what I am talking about. There is no concept of nationality in Islam and we are talking about the same here. It’s about giving the same rights to these children as Qatari born father.
Quran talks about father’s lineage which is totally different than what we are discussing here. Don’t twist it to your advantage. Give me one good reason why women cannot transfer citizenship to her children but men can?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

You want one reason? Here’s one that comes to mind – discouraging Qatari women from marrying foreign men.

Is that too ludicrous to consider?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yep, we must keep all our women to ourself. (Just don’t ask me what all those trips to Thailand are for…..)

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Sadly you are absolutely right.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

I’m not trying to debate whether it is halal or haraam for a child to take on the citizenship of the mother. I see nothing wrong with it. My point was that the reasoning behind is supposed to be based on the child taking on their fathers lineage.

But in the the same breath there is hypocrisy because qatari men who have out of wedlock kids can transfer citizenship to them even though islam says they take on their mothers heritage if the child’s parents are not married.

It’s picking and mixing which parts of islam people what to follow.

ingeniero
ingeniero
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

By your second statement, Would you prefer/support Qatar govt. if they stop giving nationalities to the male who marry a non Qatari lady?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I’m just waiting for the comment, ‘but we find women to be the most precious thing and we put them above all others’ blah, blah, blah. It’s western hate that attacks Qatar unfairly.

Purely sexist decision, with no justification. Shame on Qatar

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Not sexist in the slightest. It is justified by the contents of some infallable bronze age texts.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

Stop blaming the holy Quran or Islam for things that are wrong that are done by muslims. If you must blame the interpretations. Just like it would be unfair to quote things from the bible out of context and then to blame Christianity.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

That is the most perverse logic actually proving the opposite of what you want to say I have ever read

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Do explain to me how it is a perverse logic ?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Well your statement seems to imply that you cannot blame Muslims for acting badly for what is written in the Koran or Christains for acting badly for what is written in the Bible. However that is exactly where they get their ideas from. Both books contain huge portions relating to the discrimination against women and verses supporting murder, stoning and various other punishments. Not very nice stuff at all.

What you are saying is do not blame the laws of the country, blame the judge for the way he interprets them. Sheer nonsense.

James Aberdeen
James Aberdeen
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

No, you both make sense. It is really hard to play by the rules, yet sound logical.
“The power of words” – Truth of the matter is that Islam is a very controversial religion. It is not that the people interpret it wrong by accident. When you have vocabulary that was set hundreds or thousands of years back, you really do not expect it to be decoded correctly today, do you?

Facts:
——-
Muslims think it is completely normal to have women inferior to men. Muslims also think it is completely fine to exterminate those who “they” think are a harm or a threat to Islam. This is why extremists like ISIS and Qaeda and HAMAS and Hizbulla rise up.

I am not saying, Muslims should stop being Muslims. All I am saying is that when you read and worship a book that was written in a time where people believed that an elephant can fly, because a king said so, then what do you expect? you expect them to believe that right now 🙂

Welcome to the world.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Is it perverse because I brought up Christianity ? Would the statement be acceptable if I left Christianity out of it ?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

Yeah you’re right. When is the next stoning at souq waqif? Do love a good stoning for adultery me….

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

How can Qatar get a seat on the human rights commission when it denies citizenship to those born to qatari mothers? What next Saudi on the UN board for promoting religious freedom??

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Probably a world cup in the bidding.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago

I’m sorry Al Baker is a twit…. “Please sir, please, my beloved wants to ask my father for permission to marry me, but I told him, it’s you, as my boss here at Qatar Airways that he must ask first”…. Stop worrying about the CEO of Lufthansa and who’s got the bigger “car” and start treating your staff with respect.

James Aberdeen
James Aberdeen
6 years ago

hahahaha

Al Baker’s stories are all over the place. This man has almost the same power as the ruler of Qatar.
I wonder how these flight attendants can take all that garbage from this weirdo

carpotied2
carpotied2
6 years ago

has nobody thought of it that all children delivered by a woman is 100 percent (confirmed) that it surely carries that of her family lineage? and that the child’s paternity (in this modern times) is not always guaranteed 🙂 ? as they say, if your daughter brought you a grandchild (whoever the father is), it surely is your grandchild.. while the same could not always be said by the parents of men 🙂

BillyBob
BillyBob
6 years ago

Like the UAE does, children of Qatari mothers should be granted the citizenship. It should be looked at as an investment. It would greatly benefit the country. Also, I believe that there’s restrictions in place that make it hard for Qatari Men to marry non Qatari women – solves the problem of Qataris marrying non-Qataris.
Qatari ladies should be pushed by the govt. to marry local men. If nothing happens, and the Qatari women does not marry a Qatari Man, then she should be allowed to marry a non-Qatari, and have the son/daughter granted the citizenship. Simple humane logic eh?

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  BillyBob

Qatari ladies should be ‘PUSHED’ by the govt to marry Qatari men ? Huh ? NO ONE SHOULD BE PUSHED TO MARRY ANYONE !!

BillyBob
BillyBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Parwaiz please. Get out of here with your ‘NO ONE SHOULD BE PUSHED TO MARRY ANYONE !!’ crap. My wording might have not been the most westernized way of saying what i wanted to say, but you get the idea.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  BillyBob

You are correct, I believe a Qatari woman who has not previously married and is under 30 has to seek the permission of the government to marry a foreigner.

How disgusting is that.

BillyBob
BillyBob
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It has some logic behind it. And it’s both males and females.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

It was, maybe still is, a problem in Egypt where a lot of the Gulf Arabs would go for “vacation” and have a paper marriage during that time to a local girl. She gets pregnant, the father is long gone and the child is basically stateless. No healthcare, education or any other state sponsored benefits. I’m sure it’s a problem in other arab nations that are “vacation” hotspots.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Every aspect of this article is sad. Family law and employment law and the laws governing nationality have all been established without the virtues that define us more than anything else as human beings – tolerance and compassion. And it will never change in Qatar because the empty words cannot mask the reality, that Qatar is oblivious to what the rest of the world thinks.

Shaiju
6 years ago

Citizenship, no thanks, can i have my NOC instead?

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

“incompatible with the provisions of Islamic law, Qatar’s constitution or because they touch upon the national identity”

well, at least he pointed out where the problems are

Mr. B
6 years ago

Forget about culture; let’s talk practical problems here. Qatar can’t run itself if it relies on Qataris; there are just too few. What’s the solution? Make more Qataris, and choose your best and brightest from the willing. Those new Qataris will be more efficient, less corrupt, and more loyal on average simply because they had to earn it.

James Aberdeen
James Aberdeen
6 years ago

This has nothing to do with Islam or equality amongst genders. Think about it. Qatar’s GDP is dependent on the fact that Qatari citizens remain a couple hundred thousands. Qatar will NEVER allow its citizen numbers to go unmanaged because their wealth is on the line. And let us be real here, Qatar with no money is like a bear with no honey 🙂
Qatar is playing a very complicated and risky game of chess if you look into the long term horizons of things. I do not think any other country is as vulnerable as Qatar in terms of security, social structure, culture. Investments alone are not the answer to everything and history can back me up on that one

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