Introduction / History The Berber peoples are the original peoples of North Africa. When the Romans conquered them, they called them Berbers, which means, "barbarian." Berbers have always craved independence. They made things difficult for all people who conquered them, from the Romans, to the Vandals, to the Arabs, to the European colonialists.
One of the Berber peoples, the Imazighen, are from the Maghreb Region of Northwestern Africa, specifically Morocco. In recent decades, the opportunity to migrate to western Europe offered a solution to Morocco's population explosion. By the early 1980s, over half a million workers, including many Berbers, had established themselves in Europe. In the latter 1980s, the European labor market closed to new workers.
Where are they located? Most Imazighen Berbers are in Morocco, and some have migrated to France. A few live in the UK.
What are their lives like? There are not many Berber people in the UK, since it was the Spanish and the French who colonized the Maghreb, not the British. Most likely, the few who live in the UK blend in with other Muslim peoples, especially the Arab populations.
What are their beliefs? The Imazighen Berbers are virtually all Muslim; however, their religious practices are based more on traditions than on the Koran. Their societies are organized around two main systems: Islam and the tribe. However, there are many differences between urban and rural societies. In urban areas, orthodox Islam prevails; whereas, in rural societies, ancient beliefs and customs are intermingled with their Muslim faith.
Most of the Imazighen Berbers have continued in their traditional worship of saints. One group of spiritual leaders called marabouts is considered "living saints." They are believed to possess healing abilities and supernatural powers. Each of the villages reveres one or more of these "saints."
What are their needs? The Imazighen Berbers, be they in Morocco, France, or England, desperately need to understand that they need Jesus Christ in their lives. There is no other name by which they can be saved.