The Tuareg of the Sahara desert
What hope is there for a people group whose name literally means Abandoned by God in Arabic?
“Only a fool trusts his eyes on a landscape that never stops changing.” As the sun rises and sets the Tuareg must navigate by the feel of the winds and the distant stars at night. With temperatures reaching more than 50°C during the hottest part of the year, protection from sun and sand is as critical as knowing where to find your next drink of water. When supply is low, one wrong turn in the endless sea of sand dunes could leave you dead from dehydration.
Can you imagine living your life in constant movement across 9 MILLION square kilometres of desert?
The Tuareg people reside across the Sahara Desert in North Africa. They are a mostly nomadic people who move across national borders. They use caravans of camels to transport goods through trade routes in the Sahara Desert.
There are over 2 MILLION Tuareg people. Tuaregs typically hold on to their traditional beliefs and mythology, however Islamic influence is heavy among the Tuareg. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, Tuareg Islams are partly responsible for the rapid spread of Islam in North Africa. Though they practice Islam, the Tuareg have developed their own distinctive form of the religion. They pray to Allah, but most other religious requirements are ignored. Tuareg women do not cover their heads, but you will find all men over the age of 25 wearing a veil that covers all but their eyes. This veil is never removed, even in front of family members. It is believed that this originated to protect their faces from the Sahara sands during travel, but it has now become of religious significance.
Less than 1% of the Tuareg population has been reached with the gospel. Muslims brought Islam to these people, and they spread it across the whole of northern Africa. Imagine if Christianity could do the same?
- Pray for mission agencies and churches to accept the challenge of reaching the Tuareg.
- Pray for their hearts to be softened to the Gospel message. Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Tuareg who will boldly declare the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches, and for the small number of Tuareg believers to be a witness to their own people.