Shawiya Berber in France

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Shawiya are Berber shepherds living mainly on the Aures Plateau of the Atlas Mountains in northern Algeria. The Africans call this entire region of North Africa Maghrib. The Berber refer to themselves as Imazighen, or "free and noble men." This term has become an indicator of Berber identity and nationalism. In particular, a passion for independence is deeply ingrained in all Berber cultures.
The inaccessible peaks of the Atlas Mountains have long served as a refuge for the Berber. These rugged mountains provided a base of resistance against the Romans, Vandals, Byzantine, and Arabs. However, Arab Muslims conquered the Maghrib between 670 and 700 A.D.
In the 19th century, France built a huge empire in Africa, especially in the northern regions where Berber peoples like the Shawiyas lived. Some came to Europe to work in factories in the first half of the 20th century. When France needed cheap labor, they looked to their former colonies for workers. Some of these were from the Shawiya Berber group.
Through the decades there have been times when fewer and other times when more Shawiya Berbers (and other immigrants) reached and settled in France.
Initially, immigrants were males who lived in low-standard hostels and worked at low-paying jobs such as construction workers, street cleaners, miners, or workers in steel assembly. In time, they brought their families, and settled in France on a permanent basis.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In general, the Shawiya are sturdy, thrifty, hospitable, no matter where they live. They are also said to be proud, shrewd, persistent and loyal. Some act as merchants, who aid trade between Algeria and France. Others are simple cab drivers in French cities.
Though Shawiya Berbers have been in France for decades, they are slow to adopt to French ways. They join ethnic French people for sporting events, but their social lives are more likely to revolve around the mosque and the family. It is rare for a Shawiya Berber to marry an ethnic French person. Even if one is not a devout Muslim, the mosque is the center for their cultural as well as religious activities.
However, there are many notable exceptions. Many Berber individuals have made their mark in French sports, music, cinema and media.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although they embraced Islam as a new religion, the Shawiya also kept their pre-Islamic cultural and ritual traditions. The acceptance of Islam and the adoption of Arabic ways never completely erased their Berber culture. Although they are nominally Sunni Muslims, most Shawiya have little knowledge of the practices of the Koran and other dimensions of Middle Eastern Islam.

What Are Their Needs?

In the eighth century, invading Arabs forced the Shawiya to accept Islam. Prior to that time, many of them were Christians. Those still living in North Africa do not have the freedom to follow Christianity, but those in France do. Although a number of them have responded and converted to the Christian faith, there are still many who have never heard the gospel.
The Berber, including the Shawiya, are at the bottom of the economic scale and subject to racial prejudice. Christian workers who can minister the love and acceptance of Jesus to the Shawiya are essential to win them to Christ.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to burden the hearts of French Christians for the Shawiya who live among them.
Pray for Shawiya elders to have dreams and visions that will draw them and their families to Jesus Christ.
Pray that signs and wonders will follow the Shawiya believers as they share Christ with their own people.
Ask God to call faithful intercessors who will daily stand in the gap for the Shawiya.
Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Shawiya in France.

Scripture Prayers for the Berber, Shawiya in France.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Berber, Shawiya
People Name in Country Berber, Shawiya
Natural Name Shawiya Berber
Pronunciation shah-WEE-uh BUR-bur
Alternate Names Chalwi; Chaouia; Chawis; Chouis; Shawia; Tacawit
Population this Country 194,000
Population all Countries 2,731,000
Total Countries 6
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 4
People ID 14899
ROP3 Code 108925
ROP25 Code 309158
ROP25 Name Berber, Shawiya
Country France
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country France
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
95.00 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Tachawit (194,000 speakers)
Language Code shy   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tachawit (194,000 speakers)
Language Code shy   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tachawit

Primary Language:  Tachawit

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1933-1950)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tachawit Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Lofy40 - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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