across the continent, which varied by tribe or by region, were passed down through stories, folk tales, songs, and festivals rather than by teachings contained in a holy book like the Bible, Torah, or Qur’an. These religions called for: reverence of the dead, honoring many gods (some more important than others) through celebrations and offerings, and encouraging a belief in magic. Elements of that remained. While conversion to Islam was not mandatory—there was no threat to life or limb—but those who didn’t convert paid more in taxes and were banned from holding any public position. So, the Amazigh slowly but increasingly adopted Islam, but again, they did so while also maintaining their traditional language, art, cuisine, and other cultural touchstones, which still holds true today.

The mosques of Sultan Hassan and Al-Rifai in Cairo, Egypt are symbols of the historical adoption of Islam throughout the region.

Chapter 1: The North


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