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Berbers

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Berbers

    Indigenous inhabitants of North Africa, with the largest concentrations in the mountainous areas of Morocco and Algeria and on the fringes of the Sahara. Their origins are disputed. They are divided into tribes and separated by vast deserts and different dialects, preventing their evolution into one nation. Converted to Islam after a fierce resistance to conquering Muslim armies, and many became Arabized (eighth to eleventh centuries). Supported the Arabs in conquering Spain (eighth century). Two confederations of Berber tribes, Almoravids and Almohads, established Islamic empires in northwestern Africa and Spain (eleventh and twelfth centuries). In modern times Berbers have expressed aspirations for political inclusion and recognition of their language.

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