Qatar is a peninsular Gulf state bordering the eastern side of Saudi Arabia. Since the lifting of the British protectorate in 1971, it has functioned as an independent constitutional monarchy governed by the Al-Thani family. The majority of Qatari residents are actually noncitizens, both Arab and non-Arab foreigners, nearly 20% of whom are Shi'i Muslims, mostly from Iran. Virtually all native Qataris, however, are Sunnī Muslims, as are slightly more than three quarters of the total population. Wahhabi ideology permeates the Sunnīs’ religious outlooks in Qatar, and the largest religious minorities consist of Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists, predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, and Baha'is from Iran.

Despite Qatar's geographic situation in the heart of one of the most conservative regions in the world and its ...

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