Introduction / History The people known as Moors today are an offshoot of the Berber people, specifically a Hijazi Arab/Tuareg mixed tribe. When Arabs conquered North Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries, one of the first Berber people to convert where the Tuareg, who at that time dwelt on the African Red Sea coast. They helped the Arabs in their spread of Islam until they reached the Atlantic. From there the Moors and other Berber tribes conquered the Iberian Peninsula, Southern France and Italy and the island of Sicily. This kingdom was known as Al Andalusia or the Moroccan Empire. The Moors constructed cobblestone streets and multi-storied buildings. They built over 15 universities in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The Moors, Arabs and Jews were expelled from Iberia in 1492 after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella defeated the last of the Moorish strongholds.
Where are they located? After being expelled from Iberia and Italy, the Moors who resided in Europe rejoined the rest of their Berber tribesmen in Africa. A new problem arose when an oppressive Arab ruler in Algeria persecuted the Berbers who practiced a different form of Islam. The Moors were forced to flee into the desert where they now inhabit the Sahara from Western Mali, South-Western Algeria, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Southern Morocco and Northern Senegal.
What are their lives like? Since ancient times the Moors have been nomads who are astute traders and merchants. Their pre-Islamic culture is a fusion of Berber and Beja traditions. While in Europe they lived in a much more hospitable climate and adapted to farming and urban life. When forced back into Africa they were banished from the more moderate North African coast and into the harsh Sahara desert. They then took back up the camel and became traders once more, controlling the salt and gold trade. During the Islamic Golden Age, the slave trade boomed, specifically in Moorish Spain. Spanish, Portuguese, Sicilian and Slavic peoples made up the European slave population and Chadic, Mande and Noba people made up the Sudanic slave trade. The intermixing with slave cause the diversity of what Moor/Berber can look like. Some tribes are White skinned and red haired and others are coal Black with Sudanic features. after the French colonized North West Africa they literally reversed Moorish society by putting the light skinned Moors as the "Adma" (Nobility) and "Lahma" (Commoners) and the dark skinned Moors are as "Abd le tilad" (Servant who is part of the family) and "Abd le taribya" (purchased slave).
What are their beliefs? Moors are virtually all Sunni Muslim and part of the Malikite sect. They have adopted Arab culture and speak Hassaniyya Arabic. Pre-Islamic North Africans were a Matriarchal people who had female rulers and traced their lineage through women. Moors, Tuareg and Saharawi tribes on the other hand were Patriarchal before the Arab conquest due to the fact they are Semites instead of Hamites.
What are their needs? First and foremost, the Moorish people need to end slavery and establish equal rights for Moors of all shades and features. The Moors need to then be given a fair chance at listening to the Gospels from the perspective of Jesus not only being a prophet, but God in flesh.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Moors.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Moors towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of Mauritania's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Moors.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.