Religion and Development

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It is not true to say that religion can be an obstacle to development in this world. On the contrary, religion has educated man by establishing for him a code of conduct which is very human. Religion has, since the beginning of time, been and will always be the main source of human values. Without it, a human being falls into bestial meanness. This divine code of conduct turns every one of us into a human being capable of distinguishing between his wife and his sister. Religion encourages honesty and efficiency at work and condemns fraud and corruption. It forbids the use of tobacco and alcohol, and promotes education and health. In short, it is the solution to all our problems.

Islamic injunctions may perhaps not please us, yet they protect us from a polluted and unhealthy world in this life and also in the hereafter. Islam fully contributes to human well-being. In actual fact, its injunctions are in conformity with human nature! Allah Ta’ala has decreed: “(Establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind.”(30: 30)

Let us take the example of health in our century. Scientific research has established that extramarital relations as well as sodomy have contributed to the spread of Aids. Islam or any other religion condemns theses two offences. Hence, a pious person will, thanks to his religion, protect himself from such obscure acts during his life on earth. The holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) has stated: “All babies are born on the nature of Islam.” (Bukhari). Islam, adapted to human nature, has come as a divine blessing for the whole of mankind. It is up to us to choose what is best for ourselves, for our family and for the whole society.

It is good to know that Mauritius law has taken religious values into consideration. That is why public holidays are allotted to each religious community in our country. The Best Loser System affirms this. Moreover, weddings, divorces, pensions etc are based on religiously established contracts. Our small island is made up of people of various origins such as the Creoles, the Whites and the Asians who are Muslims, Chinese, Hindus or Tamils living side by side under the four-coloured national flag. The children of our homeland sing the national anthem every morning: “As one people, as one nation in peace, justice and liberty.”

These aesthetics of values have been present here since long. Besides, Mahatma Gandhi has quoted our country as a reference of an island of peace where interreligious cohabitation well and truly exists. And it is this social stability which attracts foreigners to our country. Mauritius has, in particular, always been endowed with an assortment of cultures, traditions and tastes. Formerly, it was a free port on the spice trade route and today, with a rainbow population, it continues to provide its service on host to descendants of former travelers. It is for this reason that, every year, we welcome with pleasure almost one million foreign tourists. “Sweet is thy beauty, Sweet is thy fragrance.”

Political stability and social progress in Mauritius rest on a certain balance of inter-cultural tolerance. As already mentioned, every religion is granted public holidays for its religious festivals. On Bank notes, one can find various languages representing the different cultures of the island. The Republic has always been fine and sound thanks to the warmth of our countrymen. It has been a land of welcome for people from the West as well as from the East. Let us be patriots of this motherland founded on the values of “peace, justice and liberty” and on religious principles.

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