Last week, Jamaat Ahmadiyya Mauritius held its 57th Jalsa Salana in Pailles, Mauritius – a country with rich culture, history and diversity. Below, a brief country profile is provided for Al Hakam readers.
The Republic of Mauritius is an island situated in the Indian Ocean 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of Africa; spanning less than 800 square miles, the island is small, yet full of life. The ethnically diverse population of over 1.2 million makes the republic the most densely populated country in Africa and includes a mix of people of Indian, African, French and Chinese heritage who primarily speak English, French and Mauritian Creole. Much of the populace adheres to either Hinduism, Christianity or Islam; Hinduism being the most practiced religion followed by Christianity and then Islam.
Throughout the year, the beautiful white sandy beaches, glittering lagoons and the breath-taking views of the world’s third-largest coral reef attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. The diverse biodiversity of Mauritius boasts some 600-indigenous species of vegetation and a plethora of animal species both on land and in sea – it was on this island that the now extinct flightless dodo bird lived.
The island, shaped by volcanic activity about 8 million years ago, was discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese and was governed by the Dutch, French and British prior to gaining its independence in 1968; Port Louis has been the capital city since 1735. Since its independence, Mauritius has been one of Africa’s major success stories in terms of its stability in governance and economy. Much of the land used for cultivation is occupied with sugarcane; the islands major export crop. Though economically stable, poverty remains a harsh reality for many Mauritian households with an estimated 33,600 families living below the relative poverty line according to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.