Introduction / History They live primarily in seven cities in and around the Mzab Valley, the largest of which is Ghardaia. It is an oasis in the midst of the stony Chebka region, which lies on the edge of the Sahara. While this is their homeland, they can be found in cities all over Algeria, as well as other cities around the world, where they are known as industrious merchants who bring their wealth back into the valley.
What are their lives like? Their lives are shaped by a combination of practicality and tradition. No one misses the calls to prayer throughout the day. Women are protected from the prying eyes of men, but are encouraged to get an education and pursue careers if they wish. Many men travel throughout the country with their trades, but always return to the Mzab Valley they call home. It is a place of many contrasts, from high-speed Internet cafes to palm-thatched roofs, and the latest high-tech medical equipment not far from 1000-year-old homes. The seasonal Mzab wadi feeds ancient underground watering routes for their city gardens, while pumps outside of town feed crops that are fed by watering hoses, turning the desert there into a garden.
What are their beliefs? They are Ibadi Muslims and extremely devout and faithful to their traditional practices. They consider Arabs to not even be Muslims, because they do not adhere to Islam as closely. They value the bonds of their religious community very highly and go to great lengths to care for the poor and meet the needs of their community.
What are their needs? Recently, the poverty of their non-Mozabite neighbors has led to conflicts that have left several dead and the government siding with the Arabs against them. So, they have a need for peace.