The Algerian Arab
Arabs represent the largest, most diverse, and most influential Muslim ethnic group in the world. Throughout Africa, the Arabs are divided into thousands of groups, based on their particular Muslim sect, Arabic dialect, and regional setting. However, two distinct groups in Africa, the Arabs and Berbers, have mingled to some degree.
The Algerian Arab trace their ancestry to the original Arabs of the Arabian Desert, who later migrated into North Africa. There are two sharply contrasting groups among them: rural dwellers and city dwellers. While most of the urban Algerian Arab descended from the Moors, the rural dwellers are considered Arabized Berbers. Within the rural population, there are nobles, who are alleged descendants of Mohammed; large land owners; small peasants; and tenant farmers. The Algerian Arab live in parts of Algeria and across its borders in both Morocco and Niger. Their language, Jazairi, is a dialect of Arabic.
What are their lives like?
Most Algerian Arab are rural peasants who farm for a living. They produce and consume large amounts of barley, wheat, and other cereal grains. In areas where water is plentiful, they grow tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and peas. In addition, grapes, olives, oranges, peaches, and pears are cultivated. The Algerian Arab also raise chickens, goats, and sheep for their milk, eggs, butter, and meat. They hunt and fish very little, but they do trade with other tribes.
Although some Algerian Arab have moved to the cities, most remain in small towns and villages. A town is surrounded by a wall with towers and fortified gates. The rectangular houses typically line very narrow streets. They are made of adobe and stone, and have interior courtyards and flat roofs. In the few mountain villages, the rectangular homes have frameworks of poles, walls of earth or dry stones, and thatched roofs. These village houses can be taken apart and easily moved during nomadic seasons.
In towns, Algerian Arab women do not work outside the home. Similarly, in the villages, the women stay in the home, doing the housework and caring for the children. The men work in the fields, herd the animals, and provide protection for their families. However, the women help the men in some of the agricultural tasks, such as milking the animals and making butter. The Algerian Arab dress very much like other Arabs. Long-sleeved cotton tunics, or djellabas, are worn with sandals and cotton turbans or caps.
Family honor is important to the Algerian Arab, and each family member has a defined, traditional role. The Algerian Arab find shelter in the family during times of economic hardship and in old age. Children are a great asset to the village, as they provide the work force and security for the future.
The birth of children, especially boys, is cause for celebration. The first word a baby hears is the word "Allah" whispered in its ear. Boys and girls are raised together during early childhood, yet receive different treatment. Boys are given much affection and are pampered by the mothers, while girls, though shown some affection, are not pampered. The father is a stern disciplinarian to both boys and girls. Boys help their fathers and older brothers in the fields. They are taught by their fathers to obey and respect older males. Girls help their mothers cook and help care for the younger children.
What are their beliefs?
The Algerian Arab of Niger are totally Muslim, following the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. They believe one must obey the Koran's teachings in order to reach heaven. The men pray five times daily at the local mosque. Fasting and giving alms are other important religious practices.
What are their needs?
Although there are some Christian resources available to the Algerian Arab of Niger, there are no missions agencies currently working among them. In fact, the great majority of the Algerian Arab in Niger have never had an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Their devotion to Islam is the stronghold that keeps them bound. Further evangelistic work and prayer are needed.
- Ask the Lord to send Christian workers who can minister to the Algerian Arab of Niger.
- Pray that Christian literature and media will be made available to the Algerian Arab.
- Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of the Algerian Arab to the message of the Cross.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Algerian Arab through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Algerian Arab who will boldly declare Jesus as Lord.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Algerian Arab bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Algerian Arab by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Algerian Arab
- Country: Niger
- Their language: Jazairi
- Largest religion:
- Christian: 0%
- Church members: 0
- Scriptures in their own language: Bible
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 0
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 30,900 (27%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 83,700 (73%)
- Country: Niger
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 14
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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