Berber, Kabyle in United Kingdom

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People Name: Berber, Kabyle
Country: United Kingdom
10/40 Window: No
Population: 3,400
World Population: 7,153,400
Primary Language: Amazigh
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 1.50 %
Evangelicals: 1.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Berber-Kabyle
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kabyle are a Berber tribe located primarily in Morocco, Tunisia, western Libya, and the coastal mountain regions of northern Algeria. During the third century, the Romans named the people of the Maghrib Berber, which means "barbarian." Understandably, they prefer to be known as Amazigh, meaning "free people." Later the Arabs call this entire region of North Africa "Maghrib." The Maghrib was conquered by the Muslims between 670 and 700.

The Kabyle lived in the rugged, well-watered al-Quabail Mountains. These inaccessible peaks of the Kabyle Berber homeland have long served as a refuge from invaders including the Romans, Vandals, Byzantine, and Arabs. Migration is becoming more common among the Berbers, and it is estimated that several million Berbers now live in European cities. They are more likely to live in France or Belgium, but some have settled in the UK.

Where Are they Located?

There are not many Berber people in the UK, since it was the Spanish and the French who colonized North Africa, not the British. Most likely, the few who live in the UK blend in with other Muslim peoples, especially the Arab populations and the Imazighen Berbers. Algerians have communities in Greater London, especially in Leyton, Edgeware, and Finsbury Park. They have smaller communities in other cities of the UK.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Preserving the family is important to the Kabyle Berbers. Even when a family member is forced to migrate to other countries, family ties remain strong. Family bonds are also strengthened by their marriage customs and inheritance rights. The father is the head of the family, and ancestry is traced through the males. According to tradition, a local assembly composed of the heads of all families governs the villages.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Kabyle Berbers are predominantly Muslim, but they do not strictly observe the laws of the Koran. Upon converting to Islam, the Kabyle kept many of their traditional beliefs, especially that of pre-Islamic saint worship. However, they celebrate the usual Muslim holidays and visit friends and neighbors during these festive times. Weddings are lengthy celebrations that often last several days. There are some Kabyle Berber believers in Canada and the UK.

What Are Their Needs?

Kabyle Berbers, no matter where they live, need the chance to become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Kabyle Berber people teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray for a strong movement of the Holy Spirit to bring entire Kabyle Berber families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for their families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness, and to understand the adequacy of Christ's work on the cross.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Kabyle Berber family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Text Source:   Keith Carey