Religion in Tunisia
Of the religions in Tunisia, Islam is the most prevalent. It is estimated that approximately 99% of Tunisia's inhabitants identify themselves as Muslim,[1][2] but there is no official census or survey covering the entire national territory.[citation needed]
Religion in Tunisia [3]
  Sunni (60%)
  Non-denominational Muslim (40%)
The country also includes Christian, Jewish, and Baháʼí communities. While the Tunisian constitution declares Islam the state religion, it also provides for religious freedom,[4] but the law places restrictions on that freedom.[5]
Tunisia has a reputation for tolerance and openness to other cultures that have made the country's identity.[6][7]
Main article: Islam in Tunisia
The majority of Tunisians consider themselves to be Muslim,[8] who according to Pew[1] are 98% Sunni and 2% of Ibadhi Muslims mostly among the Berber-speakers of Jerba Island.
A mosque in Kalâat el-Andalous
Islam denominations in Tunisia[9]
  Sunni-muslims (97%)
  Non-denominational Muslims (2%)
  Other denominations (1%)
The government controls and subsidizes mosques and pays the salaries of prayer leaders. The President appoints the Grand Mufti of the Republic. The 1988 Law on Mosques provides that only personnel appointed by the Government may lead activities in mosques and stipulates that mosques must remain closed except during prayer times and other authorized religious ceremonies, such as marriages or funerals. Some people may be interrogated just for associating or being seen in the street with practicing Muslims. New mosques may be built in accordance with national urban planning regulations; however, upon completion, they become the property of the Government. The Government also partially subsidizes the Jewish community.[citation needed]
There is a small indigenous Sufi Muslim community; however, there are no statistics regarding its size. Reliable sources[who?] report that many Sufis left the country shortly after independence when their religious buildings and land reverted to the government (as did those of Orthodox Islamic foundations). Although the Sufi community is small, its tradition of mysticism permeates the practice of Islam throughout the country. There is a small indigenous "Maraboutic" Muslim community that belongs to spiritual brotherhoods known as "turuq".[8] The Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr, and Mawlid are considered national holidays in Tunisia.
Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul, Tunis.
The International Religious Freedom Report of 2007 reported that the Christian community numbered 50,000 people, 20,000 of whom were Catholics, and was composed of indigenous Berber residents, Tunisians of Italian and French descent, and a large group of native-born citizens of Arab descent, dispersed throughout the country.[8] In the Annuario Pontificio of 2018, the number of Catholics is estimated to have risen to 30,700.[10][11]
Christianity came in Tunisia during Roman rule. However, after the arrival of Islam, the population of Christians decreased in the country.[12][citation needed]
From the late 19th century to after World War II, Tunisia was home to large populations of Christian French, Italian and Maltese descent (255,000 Europeans in 1956).[13]
The Roman Catholic Church in Tunisia, which forms the Archdiocese of Tunis, operates 12 churches, 9 schools, several libraries, and 2 clinics.[8] In addition to holding religious services, the Catholic Church opened a monastery, freely organized cultural activities, and performed charitable work throughout the country.[8] According to church leaders, there are 2,000 practicing Protestant Christians. The International Religious Freedom Report for 2007 estimates thousands of Tunisian Muslims have converted to Christianity.[8] The Russian Orthodox Church has approximately 100 practicing members and operates a church in Tunis and another in Bizerte.[8] The Reformed Church of France maintains a church in Tunis, with a congregation of 140 primarily foreign members.[8] The Anglican Church has a church in Tunis with several hundred predominantly foreign members.[8] There are 50 Seventh-day Adventists.[8] The 30-member Greek Orthodox Church maintained 3 churches (in Tunis, Sousse, and Djerba).[8] Occasionally, Catholic and Protestant groups held services in private residences or other locations.[8] Scattered among the various churches, though mostly evangelical, are also a number of Christian believers from Muslim backgrounds. A 2015 study estimates some 500 such individuals in Tunisia.[14]
Main article: History of the Jews in Tunisia
El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba is an important site for Jewish pilgrimage.
Judaism is the country's fourth largest religion with 1,500 members.[8] One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital, and is descended partially from Israelite and Sephardi immigrants.[8] The remainder lives on the island of Djerba, where the Jewish community dates back 2,600 years.[15]
The government grants Jews freedom of worship and pays the salary of the chief rabbi. It partially subsidizes the restoration and maintenance of some synagogues. It also authorizes the Jewish community to run private religious schools and allows Jewish children on the island of Djerba to share their study day between secular public schools and private religious schools.[16]
Baha'i faith
The Bahá'í Faith in Tunisia begins circa 1910[17] when the first Bahá'í arrives, possibly from Egypt.[18][19] In 1963 a survey of the community counted 1 assembly and 18 organized groups (between 1 and 9 adults) of Bahá'ís in Tunisia.[20] US State Department in 2001 estimated the size of the Bahá'í community to be about 150 persons,[21] but the corresponding report from 2018 stated there was no reliable information on the size of the community.[4] However Association of Religion Data Archives and several other sources have pointed to over 1,000 Bahá'ís in the country.[22][18][23]
The percentage of Tunisians identifying themselves as non-religious increased from around 12% in 2013 to around 33% in 2018, which makes Tunisia the least religious country in the Arab world according to the survey.[24] In the survey, nearly a half of the young Tunisians described themselves as non-religious.[25]
According to the Arab Barometer Survey, in 2018, 99.3% of Tunisians Identified as Muslims, while 0.3% responded with no religion and 0.3% responded with other.[26]
The Arab Barometer found that about 46% of the Tunisian youth said they are not religious.[25]
Freedom of religion
This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (February 2015)
The Constitution of Tunisia provides for freedom of religion, belief and the freedom to practice the rites of one's religion unless they disturb the public order; however, the government imposes some restrictions on this right. The Constitution declares the country's determination to adhere to the teachings of Islam and stipulates that Islam is the official state religion and that the president must be Muslim. The government does not permit the establishment of political parties on the basis of religion and prohibits efforts to proselytize. Although changing religions is legal, there is great societal pressure against Muslims who decide to leave Islam.[4]
In 2017 a handful of men were arrested for eating in public during Ramadan, they were convicted of committing “a provocative act of public indecency” and sentenced to month-long jail sentences. The state in Tunisia has a role as a "guardian of religion" which was used to justify the arrests.[27]
The government allows a small number of foreign religious charitable nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to operate and provide social services.
  1. ^ a b "Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation". The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity. Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. August 9, 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  2. ^ The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 "Religion In Tunisia". Data can be also accessed using the "The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections". Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  3. ^ https://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-1-religious-affiliation/#identity
  4. ^ a b c "Tunisia 2018 International Religious Freedom Report" (PDF). United States Department of State - Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2018.
  5. ^ Bocchi, Alessandra. "How religiously free is the Arab world's most democratic country?". alaraby.
  6. ^ "La Ghriba : la Tunisie a donné l'exemple en matière de tolérance et de respect de la liberté de religion". Espace Manager (in French). Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  7. ^ "La Tunisie demeurera "une terre de tolérance, d'ouverture et de coexistence"". Agence Anadolu. 3 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tunisia. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ https://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-1-religious-affiliation/#identity
  10. ^ "Tunis (Latin (or Roman) Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org​. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  11. ^ "Christians in Tunisia: Cause for Concern - Qantara.de". Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  12. ^ "Carthage, Tunisia: In the footsteps of St Augustine". The Tablet. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  13. ^ Angus Maddison (20 September 2007). Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD:Essays in Macro-Economic History: Essays in Macro-Economic History. OUP Oxford. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-19-922721-1. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  14. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane Alexander (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 11: 15. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Pilgrims flock to Tunisia's Djerba Jewish festival | Lamine Ghanmi". AW. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  16. ^ "2010 Report on International Religious Freedom". 2009-2017.state.gov. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  17. ^ Temple, Bernard (May 27, 1910). "Persia and the Regenerations of Islam". Journal of the Royal Society of Arts. 58 (2001): 652–665. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  18. ^ a b Khlifi, Roua (26 February 2013). "Tunisia's Spiritual Pluralism: The Baha'i Faith". Tunis is Alive. Archived from the original on 6 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  19. ^ Hassall, Graham (c. 2000). "Egypt: Baha'i history". Asia Pacific Bahá'í Studies: Bahá'í Communities by country. Bahá'í Online Library. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  20. ^ Compiled by Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land. "The Bahá'í Faith: 1844–1963: Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953–1963". pp. 118–119.
  21. ^ U.S. State Department (September 14, 2001). "International Religious Freedom Report 2001: Tunisia". The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affair. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  22. ^ "Most Bahá'í Countries". International > Regions > Northern Africa. The Association of Religion Data Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  23. ^ "Tunisia: Treatment of Bahai's (or Baha'is) by non-Bahai's and Tunisian authorities; whether they have been targets of threats and/or violence; police attitude towards Bahai's, police response to complaints lodged by Bahai's and police protection available". Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 17 April 2003. TUN41362.E. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  24. ^ "The Arab world in seven charts: Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-05-24.
  25. ^ a b "Young Arabs are Changing their Beliefs and Perceptions: New Survey". Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  26. ^ https://www.arabbarometer.org/survey-data/data-analysis-tool/
  27. ^ "The country where people are forced to observe Ramadan". The Independent. 2017-06-13. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 11:42
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