Berber, Ghomara in Morocco

Berber, Ghomara
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Berber, Ghomara
Country: Morocco
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 12,000
World Population: 12,000
Primary Language: Ghomara
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Berber-Riff
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Ghomara Berbers are one of many groups of Berbers. The Berbers are a North African people group who were conquered by Muslim invaders in the seventh century. The name Berber, which is derived from the Latin word "barbarian," was given to them by the Romans in the third century A.D. Today, the term 'Berber' refers to any native speaker of one of the Berber languages. Today, most Berbers refer to themselves as the Imazighen, which means "men of noble origin." Berbers are generally bilingual, speaking both their Berber dialect and Arabic. The Ghomara Berber speak a unique dialect known as Ghomara. Arab Muslims conquered the Berber homeland between 670 and 700 A.D. However, their influence was limited and the Ghomaras and other Berber tribes have managed to sustain and preserve their own language, culture, customs, and social organization. There are three main subgroups of Berbers in Morocco, each containing several smaller tribes. The Ghomara is one of the smallest tribes. They live in the Moroccan Rif, in the northeastern region of the country, north of the town of Fez, near the Mediterranean coast.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Although the number of cities is increasing in the Rif area, many of the Berbers still live in homes made of mud brick and stone. Mountain village homes are quite similar. They are usually flat-roofed houses made of stone that has been reinforced with dried mud. Due to their location in the Rif, the Ghomara Berbers are farmers. They produce and consume large amounts of barley, corn, millet, wheat, and rye. In areas where water is plentiful, vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, squash, peppers, and potatoes are grown. They raise chickens, goats, and sheep. This supplemental food source provides milk, eggs, butter, and meat. The men work in the fields, herd the animals, and hunt, while the women do the housework and care for the children. The women only help the men in the fields during harvest time, when they take the newly cut grain to the threshing floor. Berber dress is very similar to that of the Arabian community. The men wear the traditional djellaba cloak, which is made of cotton with wide sleeves and a hood. They also wear cotton turbans or caps. For the Berber, life revolves around important ceremonies such as births, marriages and deaths. Many rites of passage are important parts of their culture as well, such as the first haircut and circumcision for boys. The most elaborate of all is the marriage ceremony. The Ghomara, like other Berbers, live in a society that is male-dominated. The line of descent is traced through the fathers and all inheritances are passed down through the males. Also, as a means of preserving themselves as a people, the Ghomara are not permitted to marry outside of their own group.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although they accepted Islam as a new religion, the Berber also maintained their pre-Islamic cultural and ritual traditions. The acceptance of Islam and the adoption of Arabic ways never completely erased Berber culture. Although they are nominally Sunni Muslims, most Ghomara have little knowledge of the practices of the Koran and other dimensions of Orthodox Islam. For example, Berber men often use verses from the Koran as part of their protective amulets. For historical reasons, Berbers are more likely to accept Christ than Arabs, who hold Islam as a central part of their identity.

What Are Their Needs?

Ghomara Berbers need the chance to put their identity in Jesus Christ and enjoy his blessings in this life and in the life to come.

Prayer Points

Pray for Ghomara Berbers to put their faith and hope in Christ, paving the way for a Disciple Making Movement. Pray for a spiritual hunger among Ghomara Berbers that will lead them to the cross and the empty grave. Pray for workers to go to the Ghomara and find persons of people who will welcome them into their communities with the gospel of peace.

Text Source:   Joshua Project