Arabic is the official language of Qatar. English, Urdu, and Farsi are also widely spoken. About 85 percent of the people are Muslims, the majority of the Sunni branch. The non-Muslim minority includes Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists. Qatar’s Sunni Muslims follow the same strict interpretation of Islam as do Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, but its application is somewhat less austere in Qatar. For example, in contrast to Saudi Arabia, women are permitted to drive and non-Muslims may be served alcohol. This strict form of Islam is known to Westerners as Wahhabism (see Wahhabis), but its adherents object to that term and refer to themselves as muwahhidun (unitarians, from al-muwahhid, Arabic for “those who proclaim the unity of God”).
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- Public and Private Education in Qatar