Rif Berbers in Netherlands

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Riffians are a North African Berber tribe who belong to a much larger group of Berbers known as the Shilha. The Shilha Berbers are divided into three main groups: The Northern (Rif) Berber, the Southern (Sousi) Berber, and the Central (Beraber) Berber. The Rif Berbers are composed of 19 individual tribes.

The Arabic word rif means "the edge of the cultivated area" and aptly describes Riffian territory. Dwelling on the harsh slopes of the Rif Mountains in Morocco and Algeria, the Riffians inhabit a land of deserts, mountains and rolling fields. The Africans call this entire region Maghrib. Between 670 and 700 A.D., Muslim Arabs conquered the Maghrib.

In the mid-1940s, the Netherlands welcomed guest workers to their country from their former colonies like Indonesia. Between 1965-86, a large number of Moroccans (Rif Berbers, usually) arrived in the Netherlands as guest workers. Many of these people did not return to Morocco. In 1974, Moroccans were allowed to have their families join them in the Netherlands. Now they are settled there.

Where Are they Located?

The vast majority of Rif Berbers live in Algeria and Morocco, but there is a diaspora in various European countries like the Netherlands and France.

What Are Their Lives Like?

There are a large number of Moroccan Rif Berbers in the Netherlands, so they are sometimes singled out as the people whom certain politicians view as a threat. Some of the Dutch would like to see them deported.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Riffians are almost all Muslims, although their religious practices are based more on traditions and the decisions of the community rather than on the Koran (Islam's holy book). Riffian society is 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 areas, ancient beliefs and customs are still intermingled with the Muslim faith.

What Are Their Needs?

Many Riffians are searching for answers beyond Muslim fundamentalism. Those in Algeria and Morocco do not have the freedom to follow Christ, but those in the Netherlands do. However, the majority remain unreached, still needing an opportunity to hear that Jesus offers life to the full.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Berber, Rif in Netherlands.

* Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Rif Berbers in the Netherlands.
* Pray for a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Rif Berber families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
* Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Rif Berber disciples to make more disciples.



Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-04-10
Riffians profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
People Name General Berber, Rif
People Name in Country Berber, Rif
Natural Name Rif Berbers
Pronunciation reef BURR-burr
Population this Country 161,000
Population all Countries 1,883,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
Alternate Names Beraber; Berber; Imazighen; Jebala; Northern Shilha; Northern Shilih; Rif; Rif Berber; Riff; Riffan Berber; Riffi; Riffi Berber; Riffian; Ruafa; Shilha, Northern; Shleuh; Tarifit
People ID 10803
ROP3 Code 101275
Country Netherlands
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Netherlands
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Language Tarifit (161,000 speakers)
Language Code rif   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tarifit (161,000 speakers)
Language Code rif   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tarifit

Primary Language:  Tarifit

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1885-2018)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2020-2009)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Awar n Tudart, NT text and audio, Riffi Berber
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Portions
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tarifit
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Text / Printed Matter Rifi Berber Bible
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
0.50 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
94.50 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
20.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
20.0 %
Roman Catholic
60.0 %
Photo Source David Dennis - Flickr  Creative Commons  Used with permission
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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