More about Amazigh--"Berbers" coming right here!
Learn about BERBERS (AMAZIGH) AND ARABIZATION
BERBER AND ARAB DO NOT MIX
YOU CAN TAKE ARABIZATION OUT OF THE BERBER . . .
. . . BUT CAN YOU TAKE THE BERBER OUT OF ISLAM?
The indigenous Berber tribes have been forced to adopt the religion of their Arab occupiers since the 7th century. Presently, they are resisting Arab pressure in Morocco to abandon their cultural heritage and have been made refugees from their ancestral lands in Western Sahara. Since 1977, all attempts to assert Berber identity in Algeria have been ruthlessly suppressed. Today, the Kabyle Berbers in Algeria are either pressing for autonomy or independence for their region and it is hoped that once that is achieved, other Berber tribes will follow suit.
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In the meantime, if you read French, look at
Histoire Ancienne du peuple Berbere
En Francais (In French)
History of Amazigh (Berbers) In English
from the foregoing:
Given that Arabic is required for the practice of Islam, most Imazighen feel they are Arabs as well, although those who claim to be Moslems are not necessarily Arabs nor do they have to know Arabic. This situation may have also a psychological impact on the self-perception of Imazighen. In June 1987, a missionary from the United States living in the province of Fes wrote to his colleagues in Melilla the following:
As I began to compare notes with others in our region I realized that Berbers in our key cities and even in my rural town were often apologetic about their "berberness." It is especially true of Mekness and Fes whose imperial Arab history causes Berbers to hide their ethnic roots. This is quite in contrast to some of the other Berber regions of the country. But to a certain degree, I feel that those of us living in urban areas will confront this same thing, maybe not as a rule but at least sporadically. (Gill, 1987, p. 3)Gill articulates a problematic situation leading to confusion, which is actually a confusion in identity that creates obstacles for the researcher who expects people to be what they say they are. With the fear of punishment and intimidation and the dominance of an Arab-Islamic ideology, in addition to about 50% illiteracy, the situation is even more problematic.
Continue at Amazigh ("Berber") Identity Under Arabization
[Left Column, Middle of Page]
Also, be sure to read The Arabs, The Berbers & Africa by Hugh Fitzgerald