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Dahiya Kahina

(c. 8th Century)


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Dahiya Kahina is not mentioned in Jewish texts, but she is noted in Muslim texts as the ruler of southeast Algeria in the 7th and 8th century, C.E. She is said to be part of a small tribe of Berbers, the Jerawa, who were converts to Judaism.

When the Muslims invaded Algeria, Dahiya Kahina led a final defensive battle against the Arabian empire in her region of Northern Africa. Dahiya was able to defeat the armies of Hasan ibn al Numan. The Arabic armies left the region and Dahiya Kahina ruled as queen for five years. Legend has it that she was a harsh and unsympathetic ruler.

When the Muslim empire became stronger, the Arabs invaded again, and this time, the Jerawa army was unable to defend themselves. Dahiya Kahina was killed in battle at the beginning of the 8th century.

Jewish scholars have not established if Dahiya Kahina was Jewish. It has been recorded in Arabic texts that she fought the Muslim armies in defense of her land, rather than for religious reasons.


Sources: Encyclopedia Judaica

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