Qatar is going through changes. This Arab land is ruled by an emir who supports democratic reforms such as a globalization policy similar to other Westernized nations. Though still politically restrictive in many ways, Qatar is more open than many of its neighbors. Women are allowed to vote, Western clothing and products are permitted, and rap music is played. Qatar is also home to the Al Jazeera news organization, which often balances out its programming with Western news. Al Jazeera is also allowed to report critically on its home country.
Money from the sale of oil enabled Qatar’s economy to grow and the standard of living to rise. The reserves of oil and natural gas are enormous for such a small country. Oil and gas exports are fueling the construction of shopping malls, wide roads, and even a large US military base. Qatar has pursued private and foreign investments in non-energy-related businesses, including banking and financial institutions.
Qatar is eager to modernize. The nation has emphasized educational reform, and university opportunities are growing fast. Qatar University opened in 1973, and many universities from Western countries have branch campuses there. Women are encouraged to pursue higher education and have visibility in public roles. There are signs of openings in some of the cultural barriers and rules that have restricted women in other conservative Islamic Arab countries.
Source: Arabs, Islam, and Oil: Qatar
By Saylor Academy, CC-BY 3.0