History of Muslims in Belize

    This book gives an overview of the struggles of the Muslims in Belize and the Caribbean Diaspora to establish Islam. It further details the experiences of some of the pioneers most of whom are still alive and residing in Belize and how the community has evolved from the Nation of Islam to Sunni Islam. It highlights our struggles in contributing to the education of future generations of Belizean youth, the less fortunate and disenfranchised of the Southside community of Port Loyola. This book is the first in depth look at the Belize Muslim community since Abdullah Hakeem Quick's "Deeper Roots" some decades ago. It highlights the accomplishment of the BREDDA organization in the tri-state region of New York, Los Angeles and Michigan.

    Muslims arrived in Belize in 1857?

    East Indians came to the Caribbean from India, not Africa, in the 18th century as Indentured Servants and not slaves. They worked as sugar cane farmers. Between 1838 and 1917 it was recorded that 543,434 Indians (or “Coolies”as they were referred to - now a derogatory term, did not mean indentured servant, it meant “unskilled laborer”) had been indentured in the Caribbean. The majority of them resided in Guyana and Trinidad. In 1857, three thousand East Indians migrated from Jamaica to Belize, 382 of which were originally born in India. However, they came here as free East Indians, due to the expiration of their contracts in Jamaica. Therefore, all the East Indians in Belize came from Jamaica.

    Another point I wish to make is that all East Indians were not necessarily Hindu: some were Muslims. Therefore East Indians cannot be categorized as Hindu descendants, but rather descendants of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization and a mixture of Aryans (Indo-Europeans) . Being a Hindu does not necessarily make you an Indian, and being Indian does not make you Hindu.

    There are very few “pure-bred” Indians left in Belize; however, it is hard to find ethnic groups that have not intermarried with other groups.

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