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People and Society of Qatar

25 % of the 400, 000 people who live in Qatar are originally from Qatar. Most of the Qataris are Najdi (central Arabian), though many are of Persian descent as well. Oil has brought a lot of money to Qatar and you can see it in the lifestyle and aspirations of the people. Flashy cars, luxurious hotels, glitzy shopping malls, international fashion labels – just to name a few.

Qatar is more liberal than Saudi Arabia but is still not liberal by western standards. Women are veiled - most take the veil when they are around seven years old, and by adolescence they cover their body entirely with an al-darraa, a long black dress. They also wear a black mask, called al-battoulah, which covers all of the face except the eyes, nose and mouth. Qatari men wear a thobe, a long white shirt over loose pants. They also wear that symbol of the Arab world, a loose headdress called a gutra, held on with a black rope known as the agal.

More and more women are seeking university degrees and gradually moving away from the hearth to the boardroom. They are allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the municipal elections – no woman has won an election yet.

Arabic is the official language and people in Doha also understand Urdu, the Pakistani language, well. Business circles in the capital city, Doha, converse quite well in English.

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