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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Qatar’s identity crisis: Choosing prosperity over culture

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Qatari nationals have long lamented the erosion of the country’s traditional culture, one that is closely tied to conservative Islamic values.

Expats, the ones who are blamed for the spread of western influences and ideas within Qatar, are quick to point out that the locals could not have developed the nation at such a rapid pace without them.

Both sides have a leg to stand on, but the standoff can’t last for much longer, the Peninsula asserts in its latest Saturday issue edition. 

The newspaper reports:

With no less than half-a-million international soccer fans expected to descend on the Qatari soil in 2022, Qatar must build the requisite mindset — and not just physical infrastructure — to be able to absorb the social and cultural tremors such an avalanche of people from different ethnicities and cultures would cause.

Already, there is widespread fear in the Qatari community about their identity being diluted due to the sheer size of the expatriate population. Official estimates suggest that out of a total of 1.7 million people living in Qatar, an incredible 1.5 million are foreigners. This means that some 90 percent people in the country are non-Qatari.

Since expatriates come from all over the world (unconfirmed reports suggest there might be people from more than 80 nationalities living here) the threat to Qatari identity and culture is real, say social analysts.

Some, though, argue that since Qatar is a small country with a tiny population, its people must pay the social price for development and prosperity. “Given the situation, you can’t have both—prosperity and identity. You must compromise and choose between the two,” says another social analyst not wanting his name in print.

What do you guys think?

Must Qatar continue to compromise its values to stay prosperous? Is there a way to strike some sort of middle ground?

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