The Algerian Arab of Algeria
The ancestors of the Algerian Arab originated in the Arabian Desert. From there, they gradually immigrated into northern Africa. Over the centuries, the Arabs have become somewhat intermingled with the Berbers, and this has influenced their way of life. Nevertheless, the two groups have remained distinct.
Socially, there are two contrasting groups of Algerian Arab: those living in the cities and those in the rural areas. Among the rural Arab, several classes have formed, which include nobles (alleged descendants of Mohammed), large landowners, peasants, and tenant farmers.
The Algerian Arab of Algeria live primarily along the Mediterranean coast. Others live in the foothills of the Rif and Atlas Mountains of Morocco. However, they prefer living in the more fertile regions near the Mediterranean Sea. The Algerian Arab make up 63% of the country's population. Their language is called Jazairi (or Maghribi).
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most Algerian Arab are rural peasants. Therefore, farming has become their way of life. Because the Arab are fond of grains, they produce and consume large amounts of barley, wheat, and cereals. In areas where water is plentiful, they grow other staples such as tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and peas. An abundance of grapes, olives, oranges, peaches, and pears are also grown.
Most of the rural peasants raise chickens, goats, and sheep. This supplemental food source provides milk, eggs, butter, and meat. Although they do very little hunting and fishing, trade with other tribes has flourished.
The coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea are becoming increasingly more urbanized. However, many Algerian Arab still live in small towns and villages. The towns are devoted mainly to commerce. Rural towns are surrounded by walls with towers and fortified gates. The homes, which line the narrow streets, are usually rectangular and made of adobe and stone. They typically have interior courtyards and flat roofs. In the mountain villages, homes are rectangular with a framework of poles, walls of earth or dry stones, and thatched roofs. The village homes are portable and can easily be disassembled and moved during nomadic seasons.
Arab society is both patriarchal, or male-dominated, and patrilineal, which means that the male lineage is given more honor. All inheritances are passed down through the males. The Algerian Arab, like most other Arabs, wear cotton turbans or caps with djellabas, which are long sleeved cotton tunics.
Whether in towns or villages, the women and men have distinct jobs. In the villages, men work the fields, herd the animals, and provide protection, while the women do housework and care for the children. Village women have a few agricultural tasks as well: milking the cows, goats, and sheep, and making butter. Women in the towns never work outside their homes.
Life for the Algerian Arab centers on important ceremonies, such as birth, marriage, and death. A boy also celebrates his first haircut and circumcision. The most elaborate of all ceremonies is the wedding. To preserve their people, the Algerian Arab only marry those inside their own group.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Virtually all of the Algerian Arab in this region are Muslim. They adhere to the Koran and observe the five basic "pillars" of Islam. (1) A Muslim must affirm that there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. (2) Five times a day he must pray while facing Mecca. (3) He must give alms generously. (4) He must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. (5) He must try to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in his lifetime.
What Are Their Needs?
According to Islamic law, Muslims who profess faith in Jesus Christ can be put to death. Perhaps this explains why less than 1% of the Algerian Arab in this region are Christian. They are in need of continuous prayer in order to break the strongholds that are keeping them bound.
- Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently targeting the Algerian Arab.
- Ask God to give the Algerian Arab believers boldness to share the love of Christ with their friends and families.
- Pray that the Lord will begin to reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Algerian Arab toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Arabs bound for many generations.
- Pray that God will call forth teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for the Algerian Arab.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Algerian Arab of Algeria by the year 2000.
See also the following Maghrebi Arab groups:
The Algerian Arab of Tunisia; The Algerian Arab of Niger;
The Algerian Arab of Morocco;
The Arabized Berber;
The Moroccan Arab; and
The Tunisian Arab.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Algerian Arab
- Country: Algeria
- Their language: Jazairi (Maghribi)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 34,764
- Scriptures in their own language: Bible
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 7
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 9,959,800 (57%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 7,422,100 (43%)
- Country: Algeria
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 23
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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