A small progressive Arab Muslim
country, Tunisia is often considered a pacesetter in today's Islamic
world. As a former protectorate of France
, Tunisia has been strongly influenced by French culture
through its educational and legal systems. Proud of its liberal heritage, Tunisia's goal is moderation in all things, even in religion. Consequently Tunisians are against any form of fundamentalism or fanaticism. Tunisia's first post-colonial president, the visionary Habib Bourguiba
, led the march for the emancipation of women, outlawing polygamy and opening the way for their education, resulting in Tunisia today being the only Muslim country where monogamy is the law and women have equal legal rights with men. With Bourguiba encouraging education for all, a majority middle class emerged. On the religious front, while Tunisia is today a Muslim country, both secularism and materialism have significantly influenced the spiritual climate of the country due to its strong association with France for two generations. While there is no historic indigenous Christian presence, as exists in the Middle East, Tunisia nevertheless has a rich Christian heritage, dating from the era of early antiquity.