The Berbers and the Islamic State: The Marinid Experience in Pre-Protectorate Morocco
by Maya Shatzmiller
Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener, 2000. 218 pp. $69.95 (paper, $26.95)
Reviewed by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Translations of this item:
The numbers of deaths may pale in the face of the estimated 100,000 from Islamist violence, but the problem is a major one. The strongly secular Berbers (or, in their own language, Amazigh) are protesting a range of indignities: "State suppression of Amazigh identity and language combined with the common ingredients of poverty, social malignancy, oppression and corruption, prepared the fuse, which was ignited by the murder of an innocent teenager."
For deep background on this contemporary problem, The Berbers and the Islamic State is a good place to start. Shatzmiller's collected articles explain skillfully, based on much original research, the uneasy relations of Berbers to Islam and the state over the course of a millennium. Already in the eleventh century, she notes, the Berbers took over the state in North Africa but they also experienced a cultural alienation from what she calls the "intellectual onslaught of the Islamic and Arabic norms."