.- In a move that marks the progress made regarding religious freedoms in some Islamic nations, the Gulf state of Qatar has offered land to various Christian churches to build places of worship. The first Catholic church in Qatar is expected to open in 2006, Fr. Justo Lacunza, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Islamic Studies in Rome told AKI.
However, he said, the main exception is Saudi Arabia, which does not allow any official religion other than Islam. He said the armed conflict in Israel and Lebanon puts these two countries at risk as well.
Fr. Lacunza said he will also be watching how freedom of worship and religion are dealt with in Iraq’s constitution, which still has to be drafted.
He said the constitution will not only be important for the Sunni and Shhite Muslims but also for the other minority religious groups in the Gulf country, such as the Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.