Everything about Kabylia
The proof that it was France that had “initiated” the Arab-Islamization of secular Kabylia:
BY FADELA HEBBADJ
At the time, the Muslim crusade was ruled by the French state. Today, the entire Muslim world is in the hands of religious sects organized in the form of secret societies. They are the ones who are preparing a pan-Islamic movement with which Europe will be struggling in not very long. (1889)
Eight days in Kabylie: through Kabylie and Kabyles questions, by François Charvériat, E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, Paris, 1889.
Professor at the School of Law of Algiers, author of a speech on the assimilation of the natives in Roman Africa, François Charvériat, undertook his eleventh and last trip to Kabylie in 1887. He spent eight days in Kabylia collecting valuable information in order to examine certain problems related to the political context of the time. He died at 34 in Algiers, carried away by the fever, a fate perhaps determined by his labour.
He said: “To fulfilll and ignite the Muslim zeal, pilgrimages to Mecca were organized at the expense of the State.” (P.223)
It was Marshal Bugeaud who built the present mosque at Dellys. (Beauvois, op.cit., P.104)
“As they did not possess mosques everywhere, they were engaged to build them in the villages which were wanting, and the French government even had some built for them, notably at Tizi-Ouzou (the capital of Kabylie), where there was not one before. … (…) The French administration was even invited by the central power to officialy promote Islam. Where Islam had posessed no power or meaning before, France made it central to society.
(…), the Arab offices, by a singular aberration, worked ardently against the clearest interests of France. By their order, Kabylie remained strictly closed to all non-Muslim influence. The French schools were severely proscribed. The Zaouias (that is to say, Muslim schools) on the other hand, were favored, and the teachings of the Qur’an received a new focus. The Kabyles did not conform to all the prescriptions of Islamic orthodoxy, at least certain tolerances were granted. (P.222)
Furthermore, François Charvériat insists on the French administration’s intention to Islamize and Arabize the indigenous population. He quotes Emile Masqueray, professor of history at the Lycee d’Alger, from a note on the Aoulâd-Daoud of Mont Aurès written in 1879:
The French conquest altered the social organization of the Aures (a Berber people) completely by violently shaking up their systems without fixed rules. They French administration wanted to impose a law upon the Aurasians, and the law chosen was precisely the Muslim law the Aurasians had previously contested (and defeated). It was indeed we (the French) who imposed upon the Aurasians their leaders (gâdis) in 1866. When we wanted to establish a constant relationship with them, we spoke only the religious language of the Qur’an (Arabic), instead of speaking to them their indigenous language (…) it would not be excessive to say that we have Islamized the Aures. (…) Passionate about autonomy, the Aures had hitherto recognized no leader: today they grouped around religious leaders.
François Charvériat says here that the inhabitants of the Aures in the province of Constantine, who were Berbers like the Kabyles, were also Arabized by the French administration.
In this absence of coherence and to facilitate resentment, criminal justice was handed over to Algerians by French as it was to villains by lords, and taxes were imposed on the noble and commoner Algerian lands as if they were Muslim.
The Arabic terminology, the achour and the diffa, fit the financial desires of the French administration well. As it was the dime and the diffa, the Islamic obligation to feed and to pay taxes to French agents on tour in Algerie.