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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Security tightened at Qatar churches after government directive (updated)

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Parking closed at Church complex
Parking closed at Church complex

With reporting from Heba Fahmy

Following orders from the government, churches at the Religious Complex in Mesaimeer have upped safety measures this week by closing off gated parking, introducing metal detectors and beefing up security personnel.

In an email sent to congregants yesterday, the Epiphany Church and Anglican Centre said:

“Due to ongoing security concerns, the Qatar authorities have from today – Saturday 11 July, temporarily suspended parking for congregations in all of the church car parks of the religious complex,” the email read, adding, “all members will need to park in the main public car park and walk to the Centre.”

A temporary car park adjacent to the Birla Public School that was used by church-goers has also been closed, but pedestrian access through some of the gates at both the Anglican and Catholic churches is still available.

The news comes two weeks after the complex’s largest church – the Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church – also closed their gated parking lot.

MOFA directive

Speaking to Doha News, Fr. Selvaraj Arockiam, the Catholic church’s parish priest, said that the move was a directive from Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

“The Foreign Ministry sent us word to close all of the parking a few weeks ago, but we have no idea as to why. The common parking is open to everyone, but any church that has their own parking facilities within their walls has had to suspend it,” he said.

MOFA declined to comment.

During today’s service, Arockiam also announced that access to the church, which has traditionally been open around the clock, would be closed after 10:30pm until further notice.

Photo of Lekhwiya vehicle for illustrative purposes only.
Photo of Lekhwiya vehicle for illustrative purposes only.

Meanwhile, Internal Security Forces (Lekhwiya) could be seen patrolling the area outside the compound walls today, and the usual security guards have been replaced with uniformed policemen.

Two metal detectors, which are usually only erected around Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, have also been installed at the lone entrance to the Catholic Church, though they don’t appear to be currently operational.

While it remains unclear what the security threat is, the order from the ministry came just a few days after a deadly mosque attack in Kuwait on June 26.

Some 27 people were killed and more than 200 injured there when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the Shia mosque, in an attack that was thought to have been carried out by ISIL members.

Thoughts?

23 COMMENTS

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AEC
AEC
5 years ago

MOFA deals with churches here? Would have thought it was MOI…

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

It is certainly a concern, plenty of religious crazies around the gulf who would love a high profile mass murder in one of Qatar’s churches. If the Shias are the true heretics, Christian massacres would be a bonus.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

More of a concern than some of the nutters on Doha roads on an average day?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

No. You are much more likely to die on the roads in Qatar than in a bombing in a church.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Meh. This applies to every single country in the world.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Except Iraq and Syria may be.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

This is very true. The chances of dying in a Islamic terrorist attack are very small and nothing to worry about.

guest
guest
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

‘This applies to every single country in the world.’ No it does not, look at road death rates in THIS country.

Saladin
Saladin
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

They come from all around the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br_70Kbdpow

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Saladin

Username astutely picked!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

I’m glad you noticed. Saladin was a great warrior and lead the crusade to capture Jerusalem for the Muslims. His slaughter and victor over the Christains is legendary. Although it is interesting to note that Islam had no legitmate claim over Jerusalem at the time, except some fairy story about a visit by Mohd in his dreams.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Deleting for complete irrelevance.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Seriously? An anonymous commenter speaks a great deal through their username. I don’t agree with ‘irrelevant’. ‘In an attempt to avert following controversial comments’ may be a better reason!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

Maybe you should change your name to Pope Urban II. (Watch people scramble to google his name and find out why some might find it offensive….)

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

At least they will learn something new! But I’d better dye my beard orange and change my username to Barbarossa! Way cooler ain’t it?

— Now that’s irrelevant!

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Michkey

Amazing histort of the “Barbarossa” brothers…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayreddin_Barbarossa

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago

Quite interesting! I didn’t know there is a n Ottoman redbeard too! I knew the name Oruc Pasha. It sounds like Lepanto was a disaster for the Turks because they lacked leaders like Suleiman as well as this awesome admiral.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Saladin

That is very true and bush should stand trial for war crimes over the illegal invasion of Iraq. However the word crusade is used in general English and doesn’t only mean a religious war, it can be used in a number of different contexts.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Saladin

George Bush also said:
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”—
he also said:
“One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”—
and said:
“They misunderestimated me.”—

what i am trying to say, don’t worry about it!

KK
KK
5 years ago

Possibly they can do something about the locals parking their cars on the D-Ring highway near the mosques.

JINS JOHN
JINS JOHN
5 years ago

Thank you Qatar for their concern to protect and respect other religions in Qatar especially thank you for the concern to christian church.
As a member of church we are welcoming the security concerns at the entrance of the church.

The truth
The truth
5 years ago

I think something happened on Friday, I saw a lot of lekhwia and police cars there at night

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  The truth

Probably never know…

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