Qatari women, who have been exempted from military service, want to do their bit. They have given an enthusiastic welcome to the introduction of mandatory military service. In fact, many Qatari women feel they are being discriminated against by being denied an opportunity to serve the nation.
“It’s always great to feel that our countrymen and women are leading the nation from the front line rather than depending on other nations to protect our country. This law will help infuse fresh patriotic spirit in to the country’s defence force”, said a young Qatari woman.
National service was important for both men and women, and would help them face problems with patience and enable them to defend their country in times of crisis, said Sheikha Abdullah, a Qatar University student.
“Women are an essential part of the social fabric…. National service will make her more socially responsible”, said Nada Al Emadi, head of the professional development unit at Qatar University.
“This is an opportunity to help us give back to our country, which has given so much to us,” said another young Qatari woman, who is eagerly waiting for the opportunity to join the training.
Military service being made mandatory for citizens has been a hot topic at Qataris’ traditional social gatherings ever since the government enacted a law for this in early February 2014. Debates on the issue at these gatherings raised some key questions. There are hundreds of young Qatari men engaged in business activities. They are worried how they will find time for military service. Another key question being debated at these gatherings is whether a month is enough for the eligible persons to prepare for military training.
Reflecting the mood of the majlis discussions, popular Arab columnist Raadi Ajlan Anzi said: “There is no doubt that the Qatari youth are overwhelmingly welcoming the law. They believe it is a good initiative to create unity and loyalty to the country. The law will also help groom a socially-committed generation. However, they are equally worried on several counts,” he said.
Several young Qataris in the eligible age group hold a post-graduate or graduate degree. But they are not quite sure whether their trainers would be similarly qualified.
The law also throws up a major challenge to the Ministry of Defence. It needs to ensure that all eligible men report for training and no one is exempted because of their influence.
The law would increase patriotism, make the citizens take greater interest in world affairs and politics, and would help make society in general stronger, both physically and mentally, and young Qataris have been waiting for this for long, said Dr Omar Al Ansari, vice president, student affairs, Qatar University.