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Interpreting Article I of the Constitution

September 04, 2014 - 1:44:16 am

While I was skimming through the information archive on my computer, my attention was caught by the speech of the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad

Al Thani during the inauguration of the 42nd session of the Advisory Council in November 2013.

In the speech, he said: “The comprehensive development of our country has been, and continues to be, a major concern for us, because we believe that an integrated and balanced development is the key to establishing a modern State responsive to the needs of today and the future”. The Emir added that “we realise the comprehensive development without abandoning our belongingness to our nation,the Arab identity and our most tolerant Islamic faith”.

By stressing on this issue, the Emir highlighted Article One of the Qatari Constitution, which stipulates, “Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and Shariah law is the main source of its legislations. Its political system is democratic and Arabic is its official language. The people of Qatar are a part of the Arab nation”. So, let us today focus on the meaning of this Article. 

First of all, Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State, and indeed it is an independent and sovereign country that does not follow other countries like many other nations of the world.

When former US President George Bush demanded that Qatar shut down the “voice of freedom”, Al Jazeera Channel, he was told that it is none of his business, as Al Jazeera will last with complete media freedom, just like the American media, but without fabrications.

When the US and Western countries demanded names of Arab citizens from Arab and Islamic countries for investigation Qatar refused, unlike other countries that rushed to obey. Qatar then demanded evidence that these citizens were involved in some illegal activities before starting investigating them. It said the investigation should be carried out in Qatar and under Qatari supervision because the country does not handover its citizens to foreign authorities.

Moreover, when Qatar took this route, many rulers of Arab countries, and particularly the Gulf countries, were unhappy and began to use their media to malign Qatar. However, Qatar remained dignified against their will. That is why these countries say that Qatar is singing outside the flock.

Second, “Its religion is Islam”, and according to the Father Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s announcement in a meeting in the US when they were condemning the Wahhabi movement, he said, “I’m Wahhabi”.At this unexpected statement,everyone clammed up. 

Thanks to Allah! that Qataris believe in moderate Islam and that is why people here are so kind and lenient.

Of course, there are some drawbacks that have resulted due to improper openness and conditions set for the World Cup 2022.

We hope these drawbacks will disappear from public life, including liquor being served in 1st class hotels and on the Qatari airline.

We also hope a bigger role for the Community Police in collaboration with the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs to put limits on those “clothed-yet-naked women” and those whose gender cannot be made out easily.

Even Qatari citizenship must be only given to Arab Muslims and to other Muslims who know Arabic.

Laws that regulate our lives must be reconsidered to fit the spirit of our Islamic Shariah and personal status law especially in fields that protect the rights of women, children and other laws that grant children the right to get their parents imprisoned when they discipline or advise them.

As we are a Muslim country, all laws that violate Islamic values must be annulled, like the law that considers lands outside of city’s borders owned by the state and owners cannot be claimed or compensated. Islam protected private property, and these lands were developed by their owners based on the approval of the state, so these lands shall not be trespassed because they lie outside some borders.

As for the Qatari democratic system, it should be implemented. It is right that we have freedom of speech specially in our Majlises like many other countries like the US, but we in this regard mean the election of the Advisory Council that is still in conservation with thousands of locks and keys on it. Whenever it is time for the current council to end, the council should get approval and renewed for a new term. Delay in deciding the fate of the council is disruption of the Qatari constitution.

Qatar’s official language is Arabic. So, things must be rectified as official languages in many schools, universities, government bodies and companies as English language is widely used in the above institutions. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce tried to force shopping malls and shops to issue their bills in Arabic. However, they did not respond.

The official language is very important because it is the language of Islam and we fear that it would disappear, along with our religion.

“The people of Qatar are a part of the Arab nation”, unfortunately this part is contrary to reality, as many countries that Qatar stood by regularly insult it. While the foreign society appreciates Qatar, some neighbouring countries withdraw their ambassadors. And I think that a new term, “The Qatari World”, should be added, such as “The Arab World”.

In conclusion,I say that the government should work to make the text of the constitution match the reality.