Part 3 – Mauritius
The Republic of Mauritius is situated off the African coast in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is about 2,000 km from the African continent, and 850 km to the east of Madagascar and 145 km northeast of Reunion Island. Mauritius has a total area of about 2,040 sq kms (787 sq miles) and a population of about 1.3 million.
Official languages are English and French, Creole and Indian languages are also in use.
The capital and largest city of Mauritius is Port Louis, located in the northwest. Mauritius is divided into nine districts: Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaines Wilhems, Port Louis, Riviere du Rempart, Riviere Noire, and Savanne.
Before the arrival of Arab sailors and later Portuguese explorers in 1507, Mauritius was relatively unknown. The Portuguese established the island as a base, but it was not until the Dutch arrived in 1598 that the island was named Mauritius, and by 1638 the Dutch had settled there. France took control of the island in 1715, after the Dutch abandoned it, renaming it Isle de France. The island remained under French control for the most part, until the British raided the island in 1810, calling it Mauritius once again.
Mauritius gained independence from the United Kingdom on March 12, 1968, and twenty-four years later, became a republic within the Commonwealth in March 12, 1992.
Economy of Mauritius
The economy of Mauritius is based heavily on tourism, as well as textiles, sugar, information technology, hospitality, and renewable energy. With its tropical weather and warm, clear waters, beautiful beaches and culture, Mauritius is a luxury vacation destination. The island does not have natural resources to support its economy, but it does have sources of renewable energy, including hydro, solar, and wind power. Mauritius consistently ranks as one of the highest economies in Africa.
Mauritius uses the Mauritian rupee as its currency. The rupee was chosen for Mauritius after an influx of immigrants from India brought Indian rupees to the island.
An enlightening visit to Mauritius Jamaat:
It was the first visit by the present Africa Federation office bearers to Mauritius Jamaat. The AFED delegation led by the Chairman, Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi, he was accompanied by the AFED Vice Chairman and Chairman of Conseil Régional Des Khojas Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamates De L’ Océan Indien (CROI), Alhaj Navazaly Molou, the AFED Hon. Secretary, Alhaj Aunali Khalfan, the Hon. Treasurer, Alhaj Mohamed Hemani and AFTAB Chairman, Seyed Hassan Naqvi.
The AFED delegation was received at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport by the President of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Mauritius, Alhaj Muhsin Ali Pirbhai and some members of the Jamaat.
The main purpose of the visit was to establish closer acquaintances with the community members in Mauritius, and a visit to the Mosque, Madressah and Kabrastan. Mauritius Jamaat which is in Port Louis has a Musafirkhana within the Mosque complex, expansion work has been undertaken by the Jamaat. Students from Madagascar who are pursuing higher education in Port Louis are accommodated in the Musafirkhana.
The only Jamaat of Mauritius was founded in the early 60s, presently it has about 200 heads, and the Mauritius Jamaat is under the Conseil Regional of Madagascar (CROI). It was pleasing to witness a vibrant community actively involved in religious activities and social services. The Madressah for boys and girls is managed by some volunteer teachers of the Jamaat, and the Resident Aalim Seyed Shafqat Ali Naqvi also takes regular classes at the Madressah.
For many years, Mauritius Jamaat Marhumeens are buried in the Muslim common cemetery (Kabrastan), and it was about two years ago, the Jamaat under the current management bought an adjacent plot for the Kabrastan solely for our Jamaat, and the work is near to completion, AFED has supported this project. According to Alhaj Mohsin Ali Pirbhai, they are now only short of about US$25,000 to complete the entire Kabrastan project.
Number of patients from Madagascar travel to Mauritius for emergency medical treatment where the facilities are much better compared to Madagascar. Similarly, some students from Madagascar come to Mauritius to pursue higher education. Mauritius Jamaat has been quite helpful in facilitating for medical treatment, accommodation and also extends support to the students for their accommodation in Port Louis.
The AFED delegation had a fruitful meeting with the office bearers of Mauritius Jamaat over breakfast at the residence of the Alhaj Mohsin Ali Pirbhai, a number of issues were discussed during the meeting, including the future plans to develop the Madressah, Tabligh and strengthening further the present good cooperation exists between the three Islands of Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius. The Mauritius Jamaat President also updated the delegation on the new Kabrastan project being undertaken by the Jamaat.
Mauritius Jamaat organized a function in the Imambargha for the visiting AFED delegation after Zohrain prayers on Monday, 31st March, 2014; all members of our community were invited. The Resident Aalim, Seyed Shafqat Naqvi gave a short lecture emphasizing about unity and gave a glimpse of the current situation in the Muslim world and the loss of innocent lives of Muslims.
A welcome address was delivered by the Hon. Secretary of Mauritius Jamaat, Alhaj Yusufali Gulamhussein. Thereafter, the President of Mauritius Jamaat, Alhaj Mohsin Ali Pirbhai gave a brief history of the Jamaat and the current activities being undertaken by the Jamaat. Mohsin Bhai then welcomed the AFED Chairman, Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi to address the community members. Anwarali bhai echoed the sentiments expressed by Seyed Shafqat Ali Naqvi on the importance of unity and of the well-being and safety of the Muslim Ummah throughout the world.
Anwar Bhai also provided an overview of the various sections of the Africa Federation, and the projects being undertaken presently by the Federation. He spoke about the current challenges faced by the Federation in the light of the religious tensions and the adverse economic situation. He also spoke about the medium and long term investment plans for AFED to become self sufficient in the future.
Alhaj Anwarali pointed out on the necessity of the centralization of Hukuk funds, and the utilization of Sahme Imam (AS) within the Jamaats under Africa Federation in areas permissible in accordance with the Ijazah granted.
We wish to thank the Chairman of Mauritius Jamaat, Alhaj Mohsin Ali Pirbhai and the Managing Committee members for the warm reception and wonderful hospitality extended to the AFED delegation.
Our appreciation also goes to the Madressah teachers and volunteers for sacrificing their valuable time and in sharing their experiences with AFTAB Chairman, Seyed Hassan Naqvi during the visit to the Madressah.
We pray to Allah (SWT) to grant the leaders, volunteers and members of our community further inspiration and more strength to continue with the noble they do and to ascend to greater heights of success in their endeavors – Ameen.