A MINORITY OF CITIZENS: THE EFFECTS OF RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL VALUES ON TRUST IN IMMIGRANTS IN QATAR

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Majed Al Ansari

Abstract

This study aims to further social cohesion research in the Qatari context through identifying the determinants of attitudes towards immigrants in Qatar. As religion and traditional attitudes play an important role in forming Qatari identity, the focus is on identifying the effects of religious, social, and political attitudes on trust in immigrants. The first part of the thesis uses the results of the Social Cohesion Survey of Qatar (SSCQ) and tests how contact and religious, social, and political attitudes affect trust in the four major immigrant groups in Qatar. The results show that contact with immigrants is beneficial to trust among them as contact with immigrant friends improved trust in all groups as well as contact with neighbours and co-workers in non-Arabs. Personal religiosity was negatively related to trust in the only perceived non-Muslim group,. Westerners. Religious inclusion was positively related to the only perceived all Muslim group, Arabs. Conservative views on gender roles were a consistent predictor of low trust in all the groups considered. Support for Islamists was positively linked to trust in Arabs, while liberal political views were positively linked to trust in non-Arab immigrants. Education and employment were found to be positively linked to trust in non-Arabs, while being interviewed by a Qatari was positively linked to trust in Arabs. The results of the hypothetical candidate experiment where respondents were asked about their approval of hiring one of four candidates with different religious and cultural characteristics suggested that Qataris consider religion more important than cultural background in their approval of immigrants and that conservative Qataris are less likely to hire any of the candidates. Finally, the focus groups conducted supported the importance of contact, and religious and cultural similarity in improving trust in immigrants. Also, they provided important insight into how Qataris define immigrants. Those born in Qatar and who share Qatari values were found to be of a different, more integrated calibre, than other immigrants. This study offers a comprehensive view of Qataris’ attitudes towards immigrants and paves the way to a better understanding of how the influx of immigrants from diverse backgrounds affects society. It is hoped that this research provides both academics and policy makers with tools to better understand and deal with the effects of large scale changes to the social structure and demographic setup of Qatar.

Details

Original languageEnglish
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Award date31 Dec 2017