Qatar has never before been known for its strange rituals

Qatar is the wealthiest country in the world. It is the world’s second-largest natural gas producer, one of the most stable and affluent nations in the Middle East, and a destination for the wealthiest corporate and philanthropic elite. It is, however, has a long and often troubled history that reveals it to be far from a model of human rights and civil liberties.

So, when a group of men started carving mysterious symbols into the earth last month, it came as a rather abrupt change.

The men, who now face charges of illegal digging, are free, officials said. But that did not stop questions about what they were up to, which led to speculation and suspicion by some who wondered if the men had scrawled the symbols to reinforce their own belief that the Quran is sacred and just, to prove that the Qataris need not share their region’s vision of a secular state, or to convince minority groups to stay out of their country.

From The New York Times:

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