PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE GROUPS OF NORTH AFRICA
ARABS OF NORTH AFRICA:
Join us in praying for Arab people living in the Maghreb – the North Western part of Africa. This is a huge diverse people group spanning several countries. Pray Isaiah 42:11-12 for these men, women, and children living in Africa’s north: “Let the (Arabs in the) wilderness and its cities lift up their voices… let them shout from the top of the mountains… and give glory to the LORD.”
Population: Approximately 91 million
Location and Background: The Arabs of North Africa live in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. These countries are called the Maghreb- the Arab West. The Arab conquest of North Africa in the 7th and 8th century led to the conversion of the indigenous Berbers and the imposition of the Arab language and culture. The mixing of Arabs with Berbers and other peoples produced today’s North African Arabs.
The countries of the Maghreb share mountain ranges, desert, and coastlines.
Culture: The Arabs of North Africa have diverse cultures and traditions, but they all share Arab culture and language. Many of them are businessmen and farmers. Tourism and petroleum products are important to the economies.
BERBERS OF NORTH AFRICA:
The Berbers of North Africa are the original inhabitants of the land. They call themselves the Amazigh, which means ‘free men’. Many were once Christian. St.Augustine of Hippo was Berber.
Pray that Augustine’s prayer would be prayed by many Berbers: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” (Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God”)
Population: 25-36 million
Location and Background: Berbers are found throughout North Africa with large populations in the mountain and rural areas of Morocco and Algeria. There are also 2 million residing in France. Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa, dating back thousands of years.
Culture: The Berbers are traditionally farmers and herders, nomads and traders. They make the famous Berber carpets. The nomadic Tuaregs of the Sahara Desert are Berbers.
Religion: Islam, with traces of former religious practices.
THE FULANI OF SAHARA DESERT
The Fulani are a culturally diverse and widely dispersed group across the continent West to East in a band just South of the Sahara desert.
Please pray the Fulani would hear and embrace God’s desire for them: “That you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD and besides Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:10-11.
Population: 20 million
Location and Background: The Fulani are widely dispersed with large populations in Nigeria, Guinea, and Senegal. They are also found in Gambia, Cameroon, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and as far East as Sudan.
They are thought to be an ancient people of West African and North African descent.
Culture: Despite the diversity of culture among the Fulani, they all adhere to a code of conduct called ‘pulaaku’. These moral values can be summarized in four qualities: patience (acceptance of Fate, self-control, discipline), wisdom (intelligence, common sense, prudence, shrewdness), modesty (respect for others, personal responsibility, hospitality) and courage (strength, handwork).
Cattle are highly prized among the Fulani. The decreasing availability of land and drought leads to conflict with their farming neighbors.
The Fulani can be grouped into three types:
- The Nomadic/Pastoralist Mbororo
- The Semi-nomadic
- The settled “Town” Fulani
Religion: Islam. The Fulani were the first group in West Africa to convert to Islam. Fulani clerics are held in high esteem.
SAHARAWI OF NORTH AFRICA
Population: About 650,000
Location and Background: The Saharawi people originally come from Western Sahara. Currently the Saharawi people are primarily living in Western Sahara, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and Spain.
History: The Saharawi have traditionally been a nomadic people who live in the desert. Their territory was previously colonized by Spain and when Spain left in 1976, both Morocco and Mauritania attempted to control the land. The land is currently being controlled by Morocco which has forced thousands to flee to refugee camps in Algeria. The Saharawi people desire to have their freedom and to live peacefully in their territory under their government, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.
Culture: Their ancestors are both Berber and Arab peoples. They speak a dialect of Arabic called Hassaniya. The Saharawi people value the female figure and have a matriarchal society. The culture is community oriented with a high value on family. Those living in the desert share large tents called haimas.
TUAREG OF SAHARA DESERT
Pray for the Tuareg of the Sahara Desert.
The Tuareg are a semi-nomadic people related to the Berbers of North Africa. They are Folk Muslim and are well-known for the blue veils the men wear. They are proud of their culture and renown as fierce warriors.
Pray that many of the Tuareg would cry out to God: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will find refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1
Population: 1-2 million
Location and Background: The Tuaregs live in the Sahara Desert and the Sahel regions of Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. They are Berber people. Their culture dates back a thousand years.
History: It is believed the Tuareg originated in Libya and migrated South and spread across the region. Before modern shipping, they were camel caravan traders, traversing the desert transporting goods.
Culture: The Tuareg are semi-nomadic, taking their herds of goats, cows, and camels out to find pasture seasonally. The men are known as “The Blue Men of the Sahara Desert” because of the distinctive indigo blue veil they wear. Interestingly, the women do not wear veils. Women are respected and have a voice in decisions. They also own the tents and livestock.
Religion: The Tuareg are Folk Muslims. They have blended their ancient animistic beliefs with Islam.