ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN BELÝZE

  

General Information

Sovereign                    : Queen Elizabeth II (1952)

Land area                    : 8,803 sq mi (22,800 sq km); total area: 8,867 sq mi (22,966 sq km)

Population (2008 est.)  : 301,022

Capital (2003 est.)       : Belmopan, 8,700

Largest city                 : Belize City, 52,600

Monetary unit             : Belize dollar

Languages                   : English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole

Ethnicity/race              : Mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%

Religions                     : Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 27% (Pentecostal 7%, Anglican 5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5%, Mennonite 4%, Methodist 4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%), none 9%, other 14% (2000)

National Holiday         : Independence Day, September 21

Literacy rate               : 94% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2004 est.): $1.778 billion; per capita $6,800. Real growth rate: 3.8%. Inflation: 3%.

  Belize is situated on the Caribbean Sea, south of Mexico and east and north of Guatemala in Central America. In area, it is about the size of New Hampshire. Most of the country is heavily forested with various hardwoods. Mangrove swamps and cays along the coast give way to hills and mountains in the interior. The highest point is Victoria Peak, 3,681 ft (1,122 m).

  The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 300 and flourished until about 1200. Several major archeological sites—notably Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich—reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period. European contact began in 1502 when Columbus sailed along the coast. The first recorded European settlement was begun by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638. Over the next 150 years, more English settlements were established. This period was also marked by piracy, indiscriminate logging, and sporadic attacks by Indians and neighboring Spanish settlements. Both Spain and Britain lay claim to the land until Britain defeated the Spanish in the battle of St. George's Cay (1798). It became a colony of Great Britain in 1840, known as British Honduras, and a Crown colony in 1862. Full internal self-government was granted in Jan. 1964. In 1973, the country changed its name to Belize.

  Belize became independent on Sept. 21, 1981. But Guatemala, which had made claims on the territory since the 1800s, refused to recognize it. British troops remained in the country to defend it. Although the dispute between Guatemala and Great Britain remained unresolved, Guatemala recognized Belize's sovereignty in Sept. 1991. Guatemala, however, still claims more than half of Belize’s territory.

Islamic History and Muslims

The statistics for Islam in Belize estimate a total Muslim population of 2,794, representing 1 percent of the total population. The Muslim community is led by the Islamic Mission of Belize (IMB) headquartered in Belize City.
   The IMB was founded over forty years ago as the first organised group of Muslims in Belize. In 1978 the IMB was formally recognised by the government of Belize and was officially registered as a distinct religious organisation. The IMB is currently led by Imam Kaleem El-Amin as Amir or Chairman of the Managing Committee. As the only recognised Islamic organisation in Belize, the IMB's Islamic centre has a prayer hall and a primary school. The Muslim Community Primary School was recognised by the government in 1978 and offers Islamic as well as elementary level academic courses to Muslim and non-Muslim children. Since 1991, the school has expanded to grade 8 and now offers Islamic and academic courses. The present enrollment is more than 360 full-time students and the administrative staff consists of a Board of Trustees, the General Manager (the Imam), a principal and 15 teachers. The educational system of Belize is unique in that it is a partnership between the government and the religious communities whereby government is responsible for funding teachers’ salaries and approving the academic curriculum and the various religious communities are responsible for management, physical infrastructure, staffing and religious curriculum.
   Through its Rural Development Project committee, the IMB is the sponsoring development of the Jannahville community in central Belize. The project aims to build an Islamic community complete with organic farming, halal meat, eco-tourism and a Muslim secondary school as well as eventually an Islamic University on some 350 acres (1.4 km˛) of land leased from the government of Belize since 1987. muslim sects in belize There are two main sects of Muslims in the world: Sunni and Shiite. However, in Belize there are no sects as all Muslims believe and worship the same. Once well and clean they all worship on Friday and the women all believe in covering themselves.

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Organization Name

Address

Phone-Fax-Email-Web

General Information

Islamic Mission (Muslim Community of) Belize
 

Islamic Mission (Muslim Community of) Belize
Corner Fabers Road and Central American Boulevard; P. O. Box 745, Belize City, BELIZE
 

(501) 207-3934
(501) 205-2291                                  kmustafatoure@yahoo.co.uk  www.belize-guatemala.gov.bz/support/islamic.html

Masjed

 

Islamic Community
 

Islamic Community
Coconut Dr san pedro town, Ambergris Cay, Belize , BELIZE

501-625-0165
501-226-4044
ali_harmouch@hotmail.com

Masjed

Corozal Guest House
 

Corozal Guest House
# 22 6th ave: corozal town, Corozal Town, corozal town , BELIZE
 

00501-4020634
00501-4020622                                     corozalguesthouse@yahoo.ca

Guest House

References
Islam in Belize (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Mission_of_Belize,  June, 2008).
Declaration (www.belize-guatemala.gov.bz/support/islamic.html,  June, 2008).
Info please (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107333.html ,  June, 2008).
World Religions Statistics (http://www.adherents.com/adhloc/Wh_35.html,  June, 2008).
Islam Finder (http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=belize,  June, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Belize June 2008.