Algerian, Arabic-speaking in Italy

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People Name: Algerian, Arabic-speaking
Country: Italy
10/40 Window: No
Population: 21,000
World Population: 37,280,900
Primary Language: Arabic, Algerian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.10 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Maghreb
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Today, the vast region of Northern Africa is predominantly inhabited by Arab Muslims. However, this was not always the case. The territory was once dominated by the Berbers, a non-Arab people who were at one time mostly marginal Christians. The Berbers successfully withstood numerous invasions before finally being overrun by Arabs.

Beginning in the seventh century, Arab invasions caused many non-Islamic tribes, including the Berbers, to be displaced. The Berbers were particularly affected by the mass immigrations of Arab Bedouins in the eleventh century. At that time, some of the Berbers fled. Others were driven into the desert, where they began displacing or enslaving the Black Africans who lived there. Many Berbers remained and submitted, becoming "Arabized" in language and, to some extent, racially mixed with the Arabs. All of the Berbers, without exception, embraced Islam. The end result is that the "Arabs" of North Africa are often as "Berber" as they are "Arab." Many of the Algerians who have left for European countries like Italy are from the Kabyle Berbers, one of the few tribes that has had a Christ-ward movement.

Where Are they Located?

Most Algerians in Italy live in Rome, Naples or Milan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Algerians that live in Italy arrived in the 1980s, but there are regular waves of Arab peoples landing in the Italian island of Sardinia, hoping to find a new country that will take them in so they can start a new life. It is unlikely that these new Algerians will remain in Italy, but they will probably wind up in European countries with stronger economies like England, France and Germany.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Today, virtually all of the Algerian tribes are Sunni Muslim, with most belonging to the Malikite branch, even those in Italy. In theory, they believe in Islam's "Five Pillars," but some modify them. For instance, many are very casual about prayer. Some Algerian tribes view the giving of alms as being an unacceptable tax by the Muslim establishment.

What Are Their Needs?

Today's Algerians are not political or war refugees, but they need to find a home where they can make a decent living. Perhaps believers with the right skills can teach them computer skills and other things that would make them valuable employees in Europe.

Prayer Points

Ask God to call out prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
Pray for a revival to stir Kabyle Berbers in Europe to share their faith with others.
Pray for a Disciple-Making movement to emerge among Algerians in Italy.

Text Source:   Keith Carey