Mauritius is a land of opportunity for the Khoja community, a delegation from Africa Federation (AFED) has learned on a visit to the Indian Ocean island.
There is great scope for collaboration between the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar, delegates heard, while Africa Federation Chairman Alhaj Shabir Najafi stressed the importance of working together and sharing best practices across the region.
Strong potential for growth
The strong potential in Mauritius for the growth of our Jamaat meant that our community should not be left behind whilst other communities were thriving, he said. Mauritius already boasts a vibrant Khoja community of around 250 people.
Alhaj Feride bhai Ismail, Vice Chairman of Conseil Regional of Madagascar (CROI), spoke on the historical ties and areas of cooperation between Madagascar and Mauritius, to the great benefit of the community.
He highlighted significant opportunities for Khojas to invest in Mauritius, which has a strong economic base and a government that encourages foreign investments. Mauritius Jamaat already includes families from Madagascar and facilitates patients and students who travel to Mauritius for medical treatment and Higher Education studies.
Collaboration in action
AFED Vice Chairman Alhaj Aunali Khalfan expressed his strong desire for the Jamaat in collaboration with CROI to send participants to various AFED events, such as sports festivals, Qur’an competitions, youth development programs, Madrassah retreats, Supreme Council sessions and Triennial Conferences.
During the visit, several meetings were held with the President and Office Bearers of the Jamaat, as well as with Madrassah teachers. AFED Chairman Shabir bhai Najafi said he was impressed with the vision of the President and OBs, pointing out that a lot of goodwill and determination was witnessed during the discussions and in the meetings.
Support for students
He also thanked the Jamaat for their hospitality and support provided to the students from other Jamaats who are studying at universities and colleges in Mauritius, and requested that the Jamaat Education Board liaise with the AFED Education Board and AFTAB in further enhancing training and development for a better, more secure future.
President of Mauritius Jamaat Alhaj Shabbir Hussein Rajani stressed the importance of AFED’s support in areas such as Madrassah, Tabligh and sourcing of religious scholars for the month of Muharram, Safar and the holy month of Ramadhan. The Jamaat has asked the Capacity Building Group (CBG) to organize training in April 2020 for Madrassah Teachers.
The Madrassah is operated by the Jamaat in the Mosque complex where there are several classrooms. There are currently about 50 students in the Madrassah and 25 teachers, some teaching in French and some in English. The Madrassah has adopted the MCE program and receive good support from UAKSIR. It does need tablets for students, which Dr. Asgar Moledina will assist in sourcing, along with training which AFED will organize as soon as possible.
Members of the delegation
The AFED delegation to Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, on 4 and 5 February comprised Chairman Alhaj Shabir Najafi, Vice Chairman Alhaj Aunali Khalfan, Chairman of UAKSIR and Vice Chairman of AFED from Reunion Alhaj Amine Nassor, Hon. Secretary Alhaj Zuhair Jaffer, CROI Vice Chairman Alhaj Feride Ismail and AFED Nominated Councilor Dr. Asgar Moledina.
Zeal to unite the community
Mauritius Jamaat was founded on 17 June 1960 and has its own Mosque built in 1963 with the assistance of AFED. There are also ladies’ Imambargha, Madrassah and Musafirkhana in the same complex. The KSI Jamaat Kabrastan is few kilometers away, and all these are in prime locations.
When one steps up to the main entrance of the Mosque, a plaque stands out proudly depicting the first visit to Mauritius Jamaat by late Alhaj Ebrahim Hussein Sheriff Dewji (Faqhre Qaum), late President of Africa Federation on 24 Zilhaj 1382 (19 May 1963), and late Mohamedali Sheriff Jiwa who was the Vice President of Africa Federation.
Marhum Ebrahim bhai, who passed away suddenly on 11 January 1964 in Zanzibar in his prime, was an eminent leader with long-term vision and a strong zeal to unite the community in Africa and to strengthen ties with Jamaats to bring Madagascar and Mauritius into the fold of Africa Federation. This happened during his tenure in 1963 when the Territorial Council was formed. His famous slogan was “Ek Bano, Nek Bano” – એક બાનો નેક બનો.
The AFED Secretariat is thankful to the KSI Jamaat President Alhaj Shabbir Hussein Rajani and his team members for all the arrangements made for the delegation visit and the fruitful meetings and discussions held.
Their thanks also go to the Vice Chairman of CROI Alhaj Feride Ismail for his warm hospitality and wonderful reception during the two days the delegation spent in Mauritius. They thank the immediate past President of Mauritius Jamaat Alhaj Mohsin Pirbhai for his warm hospitality.