Islam in North Africa
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Islam in North Africa book
N orth Africa is formed by the bloc o f the Atlas mountains between the Sahara and the Mediterranean. The ranges, 4,000, 8,000 and 12,000 feet high, run parallel to the desert and the sea, enclosing a great upland stretching from Morocco across Algeria to Tunisia. In the west they open on to lowlands that spread down to the Atlantic coast to Morocco, and in the east on to the plains and coastal districts o f Tunisia. Along the length o f the coast runs a belt o f Mediterranean climate that gives way to steppe and then to desert inland. The pattern is repeated in Libya, where the hills are lower and the Sahara closer to the sea. Corresponding to this diversity o f landscape and climate, an equal diversity o f ways o f life-urban and rural, agricultural and pastoral, settled and nomadic-is still recognisable despite the pressures o f modernisation. Different forms o f the one religion go with this variety, modified but not yet abolished by the secularism o f the twentieth century, and by the standardisation o f the faith that has accompanied the formation o f national societies. These forms and their various combinations over the centuries represent N orth African Islam.