The Republic of Tunisia is the northernmost country on the continent of Africa. It is a part of the Maghreb region of North Africa and is home to 11 million people.
Arabic is the country’s official language. Tunisian Arabic, known as Tounsi, is the national dialect of Arabic used by most.
Tunisia’s Constitution declares Islam as the official state religion. The majority of its population, or around 98%, are Muslims, while some 2% follow Christianity, Judaism, or other faiths. The Ministry of Religious Affairs (MRA) estimates there are approximately 30,000 Christian residents, most of whom are foreigners, and of whom 80 percent are Roman Catholic.
Problems for People Here:
Although the Constitution of Tunisia provides freedom of religion, 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.
Changing religions is legal, but there is tremendous societal pressure against Muslims who decide to leave Islam; additionally, the government prohibits anything resembling an effort to convert. A policy that limits the work of missionaries in the country unless they are providing a service such as physical rehabilitation for those with disabilities as the government allows religious NGOs to operate in the country.
How PIME helps the Mission here:
PIME Missionaries currently minister to those who are already Catholic, establishing a presence while respecting the religious traditions and customs of the Tunisians. They mean to continue the same work with individuals with physical and mental impairments that PIME is committed to in several countries around the world.