Although most traditional schools of Islamic jurisprudence believe that building new churches in Islamic lands is not acceptable, Qatar is allowing some major construction projects for churches in Doha. Earlier this year, the rather massive St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral was opened. (see photo)
The Qatari government argued the permissibility of this project in a report that quotes a fatwa of Qatar’s Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi: since Christian expatriates have come to this country in increasingly large numbers it is but natural that they should be allowed to have the facility to fulfil their spiritual needs.
“Such an accommodation is in keeping with the principles of the Islamic Shari’ah which lays great stress on the overall good and the public interest in a Muslim country which includes a sizeable number of non-Muslims,” accordig to al-Qaradawi. He admitted that the position taken by him is not in line with the majority of the traditional schools of thought on Islamic jurisprudence. “It is only Imam Abu Hanifa of the 10th century who had espoused such a view,” he said.
Qaradawi has issued the edict in response to a query from an expatriate living in Qatar on the Shari’ah point of view on participating in a tender to build a non-Islamic place of worship – a church.
Source: Qatar's Gulf Times