Algiers - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes to all. - Dec 2021

Oh yes. 1. Language - Algerians have a collective trauma from the 130 years of brutal French colonialism. The rhetoric in public is that Algerians hate France and anything French as a result. It is much more nuanced. You will meet people that love French and many that hate French. If you only speak French, try to learn some phrases in Arabic. And you may encounter a lot of opposition because you only speak French. Try to preface encounters with how unfortunate it is that you didn't learn Arabic. That will get you a long way. And sometimes it is just best to speak English. 2. Ethnicity - Many people in Algiers are originally from the Kabylie region and identify as Tamazight Berber and not Arab. They have their own distinct language and culture. Recognize that not every Algerian is an Arab and may not speak Arabic. This ethnic division can be difficult to grasp at first but you will start to see the distinction after a few months. 3. Religion - Measure your conversations around religion. The French stoked a lot of division between Muslims and Christians and Muslims and Jews and that has carried over today. If you are Christian, Jew, or Shia Muslim it is best to practice discreetly and be careful if you make comments about Sunni Islam. 4. Gender - I am male and honestly couldn't speak for my female colleagues, but it seems that many of them get stared at and catcalled on the streets in Algiers. - Aug 2021

I'm white so I can't speak to the experience of being a minority here. In Algeria, "southern people" is sometimes used instead of saying Black, as the people who live in the Sahara desert and surrounds are Black. In Algiers, there's some tension between Berbers and Arabs but that feels more regional than racial to me. There is not gender equality here and that manifests itself in seeing mostly men when walking around. Men in coffee shops, men on the streets, men in the parks. It's fairly rare to see a woman walking by herself, but walking in groups is sometimes acceptable and walking with a man is a-okay. Catcalls and cars stopping to talk to you are common experiences for women walking alone here. - Apr 2021

Mostly men in the public, some higher end cafes where women are present but out on the streets you mostly see men only. - Oct 2020

Gender relations in this culture are different but don't prejudge too quickly. That said, there can be verbal harassment of women on the street. - Sep 2019

Yes, prejudice against African immigrants, occasional repression of minority religions (anything other than their version of Sunni Islam), and women are often harassed on the street and have legal challenges, though fewer than other countries in the Arab world. - Sep 2016

Ethnic in the south and the east but you won't be exposed to that.

Is there gender equality? No. BUT for an Arab country (in the capital) its not terrible. So a D but raised to a B- on the curve. - Jun 2016

Not really. - Mar 2014

This is a Muslim country so I am sure there is. - Oct 2013

I can't really speak to this. - Dec 2011

There are the usual problems being in a mostly Muslim country. Actually it was pretty relaxed in Algiers. I could wear my bikini on the beach and short sleeves, and pretty normal clothing actually. I was surprised. It is best to be respectful though and cover up a little. I wore long sleeved, lose fitting tops and dresses over jeans most of the time. - Sep 2008

They are quite liberal towards foreigners. Still expats are supposed to behave according to common sense criteria. - May 2008

Yes, recent media reports indicate that members of the Catholic/Christian community are being scrutinized more for their activities in Algeria. - Mar 2008

None that I have noticed except for people trying to kill you because you don't follow their brand of Islam. - Mar 2008

There seems to be some tension between Berber and Arab, but it hasn't (yet) erupted into violence... at least in Algiers. Women work in every sort of business but normally in traditional roles. There's still a lot of French influence so it's not like many Muslim areas. - Feb 2008

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