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Fast Facts
Official Name: State of Qatar
Population: 1,5 million (UN)
Capital: Doha
Government: Emirate
Leaders: Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Religion: Muslim 77,5%, Christian 8,5%, other 14% (2004 census)
Languages: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
GDP: $150.6 billion (CIA 2010 est.)
GDP/Capita: $179,000 (CIA 2010 est.)
Main exports: Liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Time zone: GMT + 3
International dialing code: +974
Currency: 1 Qatar Rial (QAR) = USD 8
Country briefing
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Once known for pearl fishing, this former British protectorate has gone from one of the poorest states in the Gulf to become one of the richest in the world. Ruled by the Al-Thani family since the mid 19thcentury, Qatar has pursued a more liberal route since Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani replaced his father in a bloodless coup in 1995. Women are now allowed to vote and stand for office, but ultimate power still lies with the Emir and his family.