The story of the Berber resistance to Islam begins after the Arab defeat of the Byzantines and conquest of Carthage. With
the defeat of the Byzantines, they were expelled, but the Arabs were not yet the masters of the country. In the interior provinces
the Berbers maintained a disorderly resistance to the religion and power of the Arabs.
At the time of the Arab aggression, the Berbers were ruled by a Queen of Jewish descent. Her name was Kahina (also spelt
Cahina). Kahina's name is also given variously as Dahiyah, Dahia, or Dhabba (Women in World History, v.8, p. 414.) The title
Kahina meant Prophetess. The Encyclopedia Judaica (v. 10, p. 686) says that the term is derived from the old Hebrew "Kahin"
("soothsayer") while some other sources say that "Kahina" was derived from the Hebrew root of the modern
Jewish term "Cohen".\
The Encyclopedia Judaica notes that Arabic authors, notably the major 14th century historian Ibn-Khaldun, say that Kahina
and her tribe, the Jerawa of the Aures Mountains in eastern Algeria and Tunisia, were Jewish. Charles-Andr\'8e Julien, in
his History of North Africa, notes that another writer gave Kahina "the picturesque appellation of the 'Berber Deborah'"
(after Deborah, the judge of ancient Israel). Julien believes that Kahina 's resistance to the Arabs was "nurtured, as
it seems, by Berber patriotism and Jewish faith." On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Judaica concludes "her opposition
to the Muslim Arabs was not religiously inspired; some authorities deny she was Jewish. The history of Kahina remains controversial."
On his return march in 683, Oqba was defeated and slain by the Berbers. After this defeat, the Arab aggression paused
for a decade but in 698 the Muslims finally took Carthage, evicting the Byzantine Christians completely from Africa. Now the
Muslim aggressors faced their last and most stubborn enemy the Berbers.
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