Botswana is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa with Namibia (in the west and north) Zambia and Zimbabwe (in the north- east), and South Africa (in the east and South) as neighbours. Before independence it was called Bechuanaland. The country was declared a British protectorate in the late, 1880’s. It became independent in 1966, with a democratic constitution. Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been ruling the country since independence. Botswana National Front is the main opposition party which occupies about one sixth of the seats in the parliament. Most of the people speak Setswana which is the national language, while English is the official medium used in Business and government affairs.
Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslims in Botswana
The majority of the people in the country are Christians. There are a few oral and written resources regarding Muslims in Botswana which are inconsistent and of doubtful reliability. At present the estimated total number of Muslims in the country is around ten thousand who are either citizens or legally living in Botswana Majority is Sunnis. Early comers were Indian traders, who might have helped their relatives or friends to come to Botswana to earn a better living as compared with their own countries. Perhaps colonial powers or administrators helped Muslim traders to create a buffer with-in themselves and the natives which paved the way for Islam unintentionally.
Shia Religious and Cultural Centres in Botswana
It is felt that each urban centre must have a building for religious and cultural activities according to the present and future needs. A plan for five years should be drawn and growth must be reviewed annually or half- yearly.
The Panjetani Muslim Association of Botswana was registered under the societies Act of Botswana on 06.02.98. The constitution is quite extensive which may be used as a guide for the improvement of the over all condition of the followers of Ahlulbait (A. S.) in Botswana. This is the only Shia Ithna – Asheri organization in the country which looking after the interest of the community in Botswana.
Material and moral support is needed from the members and well wishes for the following activities which are placed in order of Preference.
A. Educational Activities
1. Muallim for Islamic Centres
Maulana Syed Rehan Sardar Naqvi arrived in Botswana on 15-5-99 with his wife and two small children. He took charge of all religious activities at Panjetani Muslim Association Centre. He left Botswana in 2004. At present Maulana Syed Raza Abbas Naqvi is conducting these activities as a resident Aalim.
2. Books, Lectures and Audio/Video Programmes
At present there are about 500 books in the PMA Library which is growing gradually. Moreover there are videos of Majalis in Urdu & English. Maulana Syed Rehan Sardar Naqvi started delivering general religious lectures in Urdu on birth and death anniversaries of Prophet and Imams in 1999 etc. Maulana Syed Raza Abbas Naqvi is doing the same now.
3. Nursery School
May be provide initially from the P. MA. Centre to impart basic religious education to the pre- school children.
4. Recreational Activities
To participate in social & sport activities a Cricket Team has been formed recently which is dominated by Shia Ithna- Asheri Youths in Gaborone.
5. Religious Education in the afternoon
Maulana is teaching Quran to children at home in the afternoon after coming out of morning schools. All Shia children are learning Quran and Deenyat in the afternoon.
6. Higher Education
As a matter of national Policy Botswana Government prefers to have citizens for each job in the country. Anybody interested in the Religious Studies after secondary school may be assessed and recommended for scholarship to study in an appropriate educational institute overseas. Efforts are being made to find a suitable person as soon as possible.
B. Charitable or Voluntary Services
P.M.A. is providing financial assistance to disabled persons from time to time. During winter season blankets and used clothing are supplied to the poor people by Mr. &Mrs. Ahmad from their own resources. Moreover it is hoped that P.M.A. will assist the needy persons in Botswana by providing the following services:
1. Water Facilities
Water Facilities for Old Men, Women and Children who have to walk miles away to fetch water for domestic use.
2. Medical Facilities
Medical Facilities to needy poor people with the help of volunteers and sympathizers, doctors, pharmacist and other financial supporters where free consultation and medicines may be provided.
3. Disaster Relief Services
Disaster Relief Services to the poor and needy people affected by natural or man made disasters.
C. P.M.A. Building
A plot for P.M.A. Centre has been acquired in Gaborone. The plan is also ready. Estimated cost of the building is US $ 1,000,000 (One Million US $) but we have no funds. The Botswana Government may re-possess the plot if we do not develop it soon. The plot has been cleared and the boundary wall has been erected and paid by M & Mrs. Ahmad from their own resources.
Chairman: Syed Mohammad Ahmad Naqvi
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Hasnain Bhojani
Treasurer: Syed Arbab Hasan Naqvi
Assistant Treasurer: Syed Naseemul Hasan Zaidi
Secretary: Syed Sameer Ahmad Naqvi
Assistant Secretary: Syed Suhail Abbas Zaidi
Resident: MaulanaSyed Raza Abbas Naqvi
Plot 14397, Gabs. West Industrial Area, Gaborone, BotswanaP.O. Box 493, Gaborone, BotswanaTel: (+267) 391-4659, Fax: (+267) 392-7639Cell: (+267) 71333555 / 72100380E-Mail: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
This is taken from the official website of the Panjetani Muslim Association of Botswana.
See on-line at: http://pma786.com/