Arab in Mauritius

Arab
Photo Source:  Pat Brasil  Creative Commons 
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People Name: Arab
Country: Mauritius
10/40 Window: No
Population: 800
World Population: 703,600
Primary Language: Arabic, North Levantine Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Arabian
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Arabs had less impact than other sea powers on the small islands of Mauritius than other sea powers, but they were able to name it! Others knew it as Dina Arobi, meaning "abandoned island." The early Islamic period was a time when "Arab identity" meant that all Arabs had descended from a common male ancestor. Thus, being an Arab brought recognition, honor, and certain privileges. Mauritius is better known for being controlled by either the Portuguese or French colonialists. Yet the Arab Diaspora has also left it's mark, though it's much smaller.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Modern Arabs have changed traditional values. This can be attributed to the pressure to urbanize, industrialize, and de-tribalize. Today, many of the Arabs live in cities and towns. This has caused traditional family and tribal ties to be broken down somewhat. Women, as well as men, now have greater educational and employment opportunities. These and other changes have created a new "middle class" within their society.
The Diaspora Arab communities, including those in Mauritius, fit into this new "middle class" category. Because the Diaspora Arabs have been exposed to western culture on a grand scale, their traditional culture and way of life have undergone many changes. As a result, they have experienced much tension. For most of the Diaspora Arabs, there have been a greater variety of job opportunities. This has greatly aided their poor living conditions. However, it has also weakened their traditional family ties. There is greater freedom for women to leave the home, fewer arranged marriages, and less social pressure to conform to traditional religious practices.
In comparison to the traditional desert or village Arab, the social structure of the Diaspora Arab is very complex. Today, most Diaspora Arabs identify themselves by nationality rather than tribal affiliations.
The Arabic language remains the greatest common tie. In an attempt to preserve their original language, Arabs have maintained two forms of Arabic. The first is "classical Arabic," the religious and literary language that is spoken and written uniformly throughout the Arab world. The second is "colloquial Arabic," the informal spoken language which varies by dialect from region to region. Both forms are used by educated Arabs. Most Arabs understand Egyptian Arabic, which is the common language of Arabic media.
On a similar vein Arabs in Mauritius have tried to preserve cultural traditions such as the naming of children. It is customary for an Arab child's name to reflect the three dominant elements of Arab life: kin, home and religion. Thus, a boy might have a name such as "Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al Hamza." "Muhammad" represents his religious name."Ibn Ibrahim" is his father's name."Al Hamza" means that he is from the village of Hamza. Girls are given similar names, which they keep even after marriage. This reflects the Muslim Arab tradition that even though women are subservient to men, they retain their identities, separate legal rights, and family ties.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The historical link between Arabs and the Islamic religion is still very strong. It was early in the seventh century that Mohammed first preached the tenets of Islam to the Arabs. His successors quickly spread the word of Allah far and wide. Wherever Arabs went, they left elements of their Arab culture, especially their Islamic religion.

What Are Their Needs?

Resources in the various Arabic dialects are available; however, a greater effort must be made to effectively minister to them since they are so widespread.

Prayer Points

Pray for spiritual openness to the claims of Christ among Arab Muslims in Mauritius.
Pray for persons of peace among their leaders to welcome Christ's ambassadors.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out his chosen servants to reach the Arabs of Mauritius, a people for whom he died to save.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Arabs of Mauritius.

Text Source:   Joshua Project