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Mauritius - People

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 1.3 million (July 2015 estimate). The rates of adult literacy (over 95% of under 30s) and life expectancy (71 years) are well above the sub-Saharan African average. There are, however, pockets of both urban and rural poverty, the latter notably on Rodrigues.

There is a strong correlation between religious affiliation and ethnicity. Citizens of Indian ethnicity are primarily Hindu or Muslim. Those of Chinese ancestry generally practice either Buddhism or Catholicism. Creoles and citizens of European descent are primarily Catholic. According to the 2010 local census, approximately 48 percent is Hindu, 26 percent Roman Catholic, 17 percent Muslim, and 6 percent Christian. The remaining 3 percent includes Buddhists, animists, and others. More than 95 percent of Muslims are Sunni.

Christian religious groups include Seventh-day Adventists, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and members of the Assemblies of God. On the main island, the population of the city of Port Louis is primarily Muslim and Roman Catholic, while the majority of the rest of the island’s population is Hindu. The island of Rodrigues is 90 percent Catholic.

A parliamentary decree recognizes the six religious groups that were present prior to independence: Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Seventh-day Adventists, Hindus, and Muslims. These groups receive annual lump sum payments from the finance ministry based on the number of adherents as determined by the voluntary self-identification of individuals in the 2010 census.

Some Christians and Muslims said the predominance of Hindus in the civil service resulted in “interference” in the government promotion system, and prevented Christians and Muslims from reaching higher-level positions in the civil service. More generally, non-Hindus often stated they were underrepresented in government. There were no reliable statistics available on the numbers of different religious groups represented in the civil service.

On 05 September 2015, the media reported that two Muslim men vandalized a Hindu temple in Camp Diable, sparking riots and vandalism against mosques and Hindu temples in the southern part of the main island. Divinity statues were destroyed in Hindu temples and, in reprisal, the doors and windows of two mosques were smashed. Police arrested seven men who allegedly vandalized two mosques. The president and the prime minister quickly called on the population to remain calm and prevent the situation from escalating. The two men who allegedly vandalized the Hindu temple in Camp Diable were arrested and released on bail. At year’s end the investigation was ongoing.

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Page last modified: 09-08-2017 14:03:10 ZULU