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Social Life And Culture: A Comparison Of Qatar And The United Kingdom

1086 words - 4 pages

This essay examines the differences in social life and culture between the sovereign Arab State of Qatar and the United Kingdom. Geographically Qatar occupies a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf with a land border with Saudi Arabia. The United Kingdom (UK) is a sovereign state, comprising mainly of two islands with numerous smaller islands. The UK is surrounded by the North Sea, the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. Northern Ireland situated on the smaller of the two main islands, shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland.
Fromherz A. (2011) portrays Doha as the capital city of Qatar moving from the status of a poverty ridden ‘overgrown fishing village’ into becoming the capital city of one of the most economically successful countries in the world.
The UK, reduced in influence since Queen Victoria’s reign, when she ruled over 25% of the world’s population, is still a powerful economic player on the world scene, being a member of the European Union, the British Commonwealth and NATO. Clapson, M. (2009) sates that by the end of Victoria’s reign Britain had become the world’s first industrial nation.
Qatar is a small, petroleum-rich state with immense natural gas reserves. The state religion is Islam, and the greater part of Qatar's residents are Sunni Muslims. The actual population of the country is approximately 600,000, of whom an estimated 150,000 are citizens. The remaining 450,000 non-citizens are mostly foreign workers and their families who come from other Arab countries and South Asia. The rights and state benefits afforded to Qatari citizens such as free health care and education are not extended to these noncitizens.
Chaddock D. (2006) reports that the international Arab and Islamic communities believe that Qatar is the setter of trends in internal and external affairs. He believes that the countries rulers, based on their confidence in the populations strong roots in their Islamic values have moved to transform the country into a State compliant with the expectations offered by twenty-first century technology in a climate of peace, prosperity and political stability,.

Contrary to popular Western belief, alcohol can be bought and consumed in Qatari hotel bars, although it is very expensive. It can also be bought at the Qatar Distribution Centre with an alcohol permit, but only up to a limit of ten percent of the purchaser’s income. Any drinking outside licensed premises is illegal. There are bars and hotel clubs in Qatar to provide a basic social life where the public can dance and get a drink. There are a number of very modern cinemas, a theatre, ice rinks and ten pin bowling alleys. Traditional entertainment is available, sitting in a cafe, smoking a tobacco water pipe and sipping coffee while lounging on cushions is very popular. Eating out, with a huge range of restaurants and menus is very fashionable and is mainly cheaper than Western countries, especially when eating seafood.
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