“Are you Christian?” I’ve been asked this more times since moving to Qatar than ever before. Interestingly, I don’t recall being asked “What religion are you?” or “Do you believe in God?”.
My children’s friends have asked me, our cleaner has asked me, her sister has asked me, the compound’s gardener has asked me, even the IKEA delivery man has asked me.
Is it a noun? Or an adjective? Another google search I never thought I’d do. Our son, L, recently asked, “Was he a Christian?” (adj) about a driver who caused a car crash at school. I was a little surprised by this question, but I now understand he was referring to his appearance and wanted to know whether or not he was wearing a thobe. He now knows you can indeed be muslim and not wear a thobe – I’d clearly missed that part in his education!
However, my absolute favourite of these encounters was with one of the IKEA delivery men. After offering the team a drink, I was asked if I was Christian. The truth… “It’s complicated. Let’s discuss dinosaurs, the evolution of man and the big bang theory…” was not what was needed right at that moment, so for ease, I went with a simple “Yes”. He put his drink down and started singing. And I mean full-on-singing. From his lungs. His arms out wide.
His song of choice? Flying without wings. So in less than a month of landing in the Middle East, I found myself in my lounge, holding a plate of custard creams, confused at myself for answering yes… and Westlife had entered the building.
Photo: taken at Conrad Rangali beach, Maldives