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Friday, October 30, 2020

Government gives nod to Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar construction

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A rendering of the new Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar.
A rendering of the new Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar.

Beda Robles’s seven-year quest for permission to construct a proper place of worship for the Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar (ECAQ) ended with a phone call late last month from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“He said ‘I have good news,’ and I just knew. All our years of praying and hoping had come to fruition,” said Robles, a 59-year-old Filipino expat who is the chairman and a founding member of ECAQ.

The new place of worship will be several kilometers outside of central Doha in Mesaimeer’s religious complex, next to the Catholic Church Of Our Lady Of Rosary.

ECAQ has approximately 1,200 members who hail primarily from the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. The 28-year-old organization has historically held worship sessions in villas and other private homes.

It secured a lease contract for the land in 2013, but had to wait for official government approval before it could start raising money for the QR100 million (US$27.47 million) church.

“We are so grateful for the help of the Emir and the Father Emir for making this happen,” said Robles, adding that the former Philippines ambassador to Qatar, Crescente Relacion, also played an instrumental role.

“They have supported us throughout,” he said. “The government has been very supportive in providing us permissions to hold worship sessions, meetings and other celebrations like our Family Days over the years.”

Religious freedoms

Qatar is generally tolerant of non-Muslim religious groups and rarely interferes with their worship activities, according to the US State Department’s most recent report on religious freedoms.

Catholic Church
Catholic Church

“With the high-level dialogue between church leaders and (the) government, things are going on very well,” Asim Koldzo, an Oxford graduate student researching interfaith issues, told Doha News in 2012.

Qatar’s first church since pre-Islamic times opened in 2008. According to the US report, the country has granted legal status to the Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic, Lebanese Maronite, Filipino Evangelical and Indian Christian churches.

Smaller Christian groups are required to worship under the patronage of one of the eight recognized denominations.

Qatar’s Constitution and other laws recognize the Abrahamic faiths – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – but do not acknowledge other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

Koldzo said Hindus have been excluded from interfaith initiatives in the past due to social and economic reasons, as many Hindus work in lower-paid professions in Qatar.

Next steps

Robles said he hopes the new church will be completed within the next three years. The two-story complex will have 24 worship halls and 24 rooms, catering to the different prayer groups under the church.

ECAQ Family Day
ECAQ Family Day

Once completed, the building will cover some 15,000 square meters of floor area with the capacity to accommodate 6,000 people.

Now that the organization has its commercial registration, it can start filing work visa applications to hire administrative staff, as well as begin soliciting donations.

“We have a small amount collected now, and we’re hoping to get a start on the ground-breaking with that. As for the other money, we’re going to have huge fundraising efforts to bring in donations, and we’re also asking help from other churches in Doha, in the region, and around the world,” he said.

Thoughts?

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DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago

“Qatar’s first church since pre-Islamic times opened in 2008”

That is fundamentally untrue. The archeological evidence is awash with information demonstrating that Christian and Jewish communities were part of the cultural fabric of the peninsula after the coming of Islam.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

That is true, but they were eventually driven to extinction by Muslims in the Arabia shortly after the conquest of Arabia by Muslim armies. Jews managed to hang on in Persia in small number and some other states in the levant and North Africa but along with the Christians were wiped out in Arabia. Even Mohd wiped out one Jewish tribe in Arabia in a famous incident in Arabia.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

So, are we talking about Arabia or Qatar? Because there’s in fact a difference.

Judging by the fact that you neglected to mention that Yemen, of all places, does have a well known Jewish population, I’m going to hazard a guess that your account of what happened between the early Muslims and the Jewish tribes in Medina.

Short version is that each of the tribes had a pact with the rest of people of Medina, and they each violated it. Most notable example is when Quarish (from Mekkah) lay siege to Medina, and one of the tribes allied with them against the people of Medina.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Well in the 7th century Qatar didn’t exist. In fact if it wasn’t for British rule it probably wouldn’t exist now.

O
O
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Now this is a history class!!! However Qatar is applying some changes it will take sometime though. They just take it SLOW

zeit
zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Again and again you get hammered on your false history. Anyways if it gives you any solace there are jews in Bahrain to this very day, even Christians also. In Kuwait too they have a small christian community but then again it wont fall into your bigoted narrative.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  zeit

Again false hope in your stories. Non Muslims cannot be citizens according to their law, same for Qatar and Saudi. Pure discrimination. It drives them even to this day to emigrate where they won’t suffer discrimination.

.
.
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

There are Jewish families in Bahrain and one of the is the Nono family. You can even search them up online. And one of them used to be the ambassador of Bahrain to the united states. Her name is houda nono l.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  zeit

Bahrain has a tiny Jewish population but has a history of hostility to the jews in the recent past, destroying the synagogue there, looting jewish shops and attacking jews. Thankfully that does not seem to occur anymore as the sunni/shia violence has taken precendence.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Oh dear, should I?

Nobody is saying that Qatar the country that exists today existed back then. However, Qatar the geographical place most certainly did. It was even known as Qatar back then, but that’s not relevant.

The point is, Doha News is correct in saying that no Christian churches are known to have existed in Qatar since the dawn of Islam.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

“The point is, Doha News is correct in saying that no Christian churches are known to have existed in Qatar since the dawn of Islam.”

That’s simply not true. The archeological evidence of both temples and churches continuing in Qatar after the 7th century is abundant.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
5 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

What archaeological evidence?

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

The materials unearthed in relation to the wide range of digs being sponsored around Qatar and being led (for the most part) by the University of Copenhagen.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Yes, the last Arabic Jews left Yemen in the last few years.

zeit
zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The jewish tribe violated pacts and one of them even attempted assasinate the Prophet. ironical how you like to pick and choose your history. Must have been working with those rabid right wing newspapers like daily mail weren’t you.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  zeit

As we always try to tell the world you cannot blame all the worlds Muslims for a few Muslim terrorists. In the same way you should not wipe out a whole Jewish tribe for the acts of its leaders. That’s genocide.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

How long is ‘shortly’? What do you mean by ‘wiped out’? If by ‘shortly’, you mean around 100 years, and by ‘wiped out’, you mean being required to pay jizya, you would be partially correct. I don’t believe there are many (if any) churches constructed in Arabia after the 7th century. However, the churches that already existed were allowed to stand, its clergy were allowed to continue attending synod, and Christians were allowed to practice their faith, albeit discreetly, until the 9th century. This was the case in Eastern Arabia, i.e. Beth Mazunye and Beth Qatraye.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Nuremburg

200 years is pretty short to wipe out a faith. With widespread discrimination, unfair taxes on non muslims, no political power, denied jobs your choices for your family become emigrate or convert out of convinence. This not just applies to Islam but has been practised by all major religions were they are the dominant religion.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Nuremburg

In year 20 of the Muslim era, or the year 641 AD, Muhammad’s successor the Caliph ‘Umar decreed that Jews and Christians should be removed from all but the southern and eastern fringes of Arabia—a decree based on the (sometimes disputed) uttering of the Prophet: “Let there not be two religions in Arabia”. The two populations in question were the Jews of the Khaybar oasis in the north and the Christians of Najran. Only the Red Sea port of Jedda was permitted as a “religious quarantine area” and continued to have a small complement of Jewish merchants.

AFT
AFT
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

But we are taking abut religious openness here. Let us celebrate this, elsewhere around the world people are being killed Christian or Muslim, etc for what they believe.

The faith remains that is our relationship with God. The problem comes in when fanaticism enters the picture. The believers of these faith start killer others not like them.

Even people who are Christians, Jews, Muslims etc. killed each other off in different times in history. Qatar is a good example how we could peacefully co exist without finishing off each other.

AFT
AFT
5 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Yes,
Even in Jubail, KSA, there was unearthed an Assyrrian church, at the entrance was a wooden cross fixed within the entrance portal, this is 4th century
Recently also in Villagio, we chanced upon a photo exhibit of artifact unearthed in the GCC countires. There was a cross ornament which was labelled Coptic Byzantine in origin. However this is more Coptic in origin since the form is more Coptic than Byzantine. Coptic is from 3-4th century in origin, where St. Mark brought to Alexandria the Christian faith. The period are predates the spread of Islam. Jewish community also existed in Egypt, you have a remaining synagogue in Old Cairo. If you search the story about Mt. Mokattam you find that even before, the Caliphate in Egypt encouraged dialogue between faiths.
At any rate this shows that Qatar is looks also into the spiritual need of expats where places of worship is given a rightful location. I remember the time when there were still no roads leading to the Catholic Church, look at the religious complex now.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Although I don’t believe in such superstitions, this is a great move by Qatar allowing people freedom of choice and giving them a place to worship. I am impressed by some of the moves Qatar is taking to be a truly inclusive society. Saudi could learn a lot from them.

Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

can you not be passive aggressive for once in your life? Everytime i visit doha news i see your comments. I wish they were tactful, but you are a very rude person.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed

You only consider them rude because you don’t agree with them and you know what I am fine with that. I have my opinion and you have yours.

Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

lol nope, i agreed with most of your comments below, its just your attitude (as seen from your reply), you just assumed that I dont agree with you and justified it straight after, stop this passive aggressive crap

Kz
Kz
5 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed

Seriously mate. Dont bother. DN is his only source of fame. Apparently making stupid comments makes him a celebrity here. So let him revel in his ignorance.stop feeding the troll.

Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  Kz

it seems like it, all i wanted from him is to be a bit nicer in his responses. First time i see someone so adamant about bashing everything and everyone on ONE website XD Thanks Kz =]

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed

Deleting this thread for not relating to the story.

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago

“Robles said he hopes the new church will be completed within the next three years.” Inshallah

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
5 years ago

24 worship halls, 24 rooms, $27 Million Dollars and only 1,200 members currently, with space to grow another 4,800 with the estimated capacity……Maybe the members get their own private rooms? I honestly had never heard of them, however a quick look on their website gave me clarity…..I quote one of their ‘Tenets of faith’ “We believe that man is totally depraved in that of himself he is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition..”..Good luck with the membership drive based on that one.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Each to their own delusion. If they choose this faith from their own free will then so be it as long as they don’t try and impose their rules on others.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Is there such a thing as a religion which doesn’t try, in some way, to impose their rules and beliefs on others? This is the whole basis for the continuity of the delusion. It’s called ‘indoctrination’.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Nuremburg

I guess all religions and faiths used indoctrination of children in their method of spreading. This is really unfair on young children, they look to their parents for guidance yet they fill their heads full of nonesense.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Funny, you are spreading your own delusions here as well. touché

Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

“each to their own delusion” you tell me if this is rude or not

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed

People may consider it offensive but that is there problem not mine and technically I am correct. Since the dawn of human civilisation there has been approximately 6000 Gods, deities and supernatural beings that have been worshipped, followed etc. Each person considers their faith to be the one true faith and the others deluded in their beliefs. So in fact most people would consider the majority of religions/faiths to be deluded, leaving only their tiny slither of belief to be ‘true’. Therefore when talking about faiths that are not their own the majority would agree with me that the ‘others’ are deluded on on the wrong path. (They may deny that but that is the basic tenent of most faiths)

Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I just read the first line and there you go being rude. I didnt even want to start anything about religion and what not, all i did was point out how a sentence can be very rude. But i am thankful that you proved my point and went full defensive about something I did not even want to talk about. Anyway I hope that you may step down to our level oh great one, just to listen some earthly advice of living amongst many different people, its always better to be nice.

“People may consider it offensive but that is there problem not mine” , first of, their*, second this is your opinion, mentioning some statistics doesnt make your opinions turn into facts, please understand that. secondly, you purposefully attack people and then say that its ‘their problem’. If you knew that it would offend someone, why would say it anyway? Getting an ego boost out of the internet is not the way to do things.

(P.S: “technically I am correct” try not to be so self righteous and becareful with your ego, I am talking to an adult right?)

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed

I consider indoctrination of children child abuse and offensive, also those that use religion to impose laws on others. Some find my atheism offensive. So who’s right?

People try to shut down debate saying that’s offensive. That’s not a reason, it just means your childish.

Thanks for pointing out my spelling mistake. Must make you feel superior

Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

There is no right when anyone is doing anything that takes away someone’s freedom, ideas are not offensive. Actions (such as your rude comments) are.
I’m not trying to shut down your debate, just pointing out that there are ways of expressing your ideas and opinions. Try to be nice with your responses, that is all I’m saying, and try not to let doha news comments be your source of an ego boost.

You are welcome =]

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Deleting this thread for getting off track.

yo
yo
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

How about allowing free speech lol. Seems a little controllling, no?

John Hooper
John Hooper
5 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

“We believe that man is totally depraved in that of himself he is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition” This is this basis of Christianity. We realize we need a Savoir as we cannot save ourselves. God’s own Son, Jesus, paid the price for our sins and thus we accept His atonement for our sins. We cannot save our selves from God’s wrath for our sins and no amount of good deeds will bring us in right standing with God. I do not think they will have a problem raising the money…

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
5 years ago
Reply to  John Hooper

Only time will tell John. If those that cannot save themselves (no matter how many good deeds are carried out) and require a $27 million dollar building to help affirm that, then I can only look on in slient admiration at the persuasive abilities of the leaders of this organisation to convince their flock to part with their hard earned cash.

Michael
Michael
5 years ago

The Qatar Government has made a very wise decision in allowing freedom to worship! This of course has been going on for numerous years already…I seen a comment on the number of members being 1200 as another report mention 8000 which maybe more accurate.

Phoe
Phoe
5 years ago

That is one ugly church, they should get a better designer.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

What surprises me is this is another sect of Christanity. What about a Hindu temple, they have no representation here and they are a huge amount of the population. Actually probably a Buddist Shrine would be a good as well, plenty of Buddists in Qatar.

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Actually speaking you dont need a hindu temple. Few cows should suffice since cow is one of their “gods”.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Deleting for denigrating Hinduism.

Edward
Edward
5 years ago

Good for Qatar for allowing this, though I doubt that this facility will ever be built. Where are 1,200 members from poor countries going to come up with QAR 100M? (And doesn’t the scale seem a bit extravagant?) I wish them good luck.

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