Algeria: May 5, 2001


Berbers continue to demonstrate against Arab domination, but the violence and police killings have stopped. This long simmering ethnic dispute is unusual because most of the Algerian population have Berber ancestors. But over the centuries, the majority of the people adopted Arab culture, as a result of Moslem Arab armies conquering the region over a thousand years ago. The local Berbers provided some of the stiffest resistance to the spread of Islam by Arab armies. As a result, a large minority (about 14 percent) still speak the ancient Berber language and cling tightly to Berber culture (which is still common among many Arab speakers.)  Although the Berbers eventually accepted Islam, they continue to resist domination by Arabs.   


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