- The Arabization policy was the objective of postcolonial governments in North Africa or the so-called Arab Maghrib, and it remains a contested issue down to the present day. The long historical process that has made Arabic the dominant and official language in the North African countries, with various dialects, consists of four stages: the period of the first Arab conquerors in the seventh century; the Bedouin invasion of the Banu Hilal, Sulaym, and Ma`qil in the 11th century; the influx of refugees from al-Andalus from the 14th to the 17th century; and postcolonial and pan-Arab nationalist policies of Arabization.Prior to independence, the French colonial authorities viewed Arabic as a language foreign to the region. In the midst of the blowing winds of pan-Arabism and on independence, however, Arabic was viewed as the tool by which postcolonial North African societies could break the colonial hangover as well as reclaim an authentic identity and culture. To achieve these goals, governments enacted laws to anchor the Arabic language in the educational and socialization landscapes and state official activities. They also constitutionally elevated Arabic to the status of being the official and exclusive language of North Africa, much to the detriment of the Berber language, Tamazight. Consequently, while very little room is left for bilingualism or foreign languages, education, media, place-names, and peoples' names became Arabized.The Arabization policy has been very controversial. The notion of Arabization embodied in the politics of language excluded the Berbers, leading to sporadic unrest and even violent and bloody protest in the 1980s, especially in Algeria. In Morocco, the pan-Arabist and nationalist al-Istiqlal and Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires (USFP) political parties, despite their progressive discourse on diversity, have systematically blocked any effort to recognize Berber as the other official language of Morocco. The rise of Islamist and Arabist politics adds an explosive dimension to the current debate and controversy over language rehabilitation and reform since Arabic is the sacred language of Islam's holy book, the Qur'an.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.