How many Christians are there in Tunisia?
Only a tiny minority of Tunisia’s population of 12 million are Christian: just 22,800 people. Most of the rest of the country are Muslim.
How are Christians persecuted in Tunisia?
For many Christians in Tunisia, the pressure they face is widespread and constant. While expatriate Christians are largely left alone, Tunisian believers experience high pressure in every area of life. This is particularly true for believers who’ve converted from Islam, because the country forbids religious conversion.
Christians face hostility and abuse from their families and their surrounding community – including beatings and death threats. It can be dangerous to share their faith, so many of them are forced to worship Jesus secretly. They must be careful when gathering for worship, simply because exposure would endanger them – as they are monitored by Tunisian security services.
What’s life like for Christians in Tunisia?
Christian women and girls in Tunisia are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and domestic violence, and are more at risk in the traditional family context. They may be physically beaten, expelled from their home, put under house arrest, threatened with death or raped. If a Christian convert is already married, her husband will probably divorce her and she will have her children taken away and her financial support withdrawn.
Pressured by their families, Muslim wives will leave a male Christian convert, and he may be denied inheritance or even access to his possessions. However, the severity of backlash following conversion depends on his social position and his political standing within his community. Male converts also face loss of jobs and any job promotion, and are denied access to social community/networks. They can also be detained by police for faith-related reasons.
Is it getting easier to be a Christian in Tunisia?
Tunisia fell nine places on the World Watch List, but this only represents a small drop in persecution. The fall in World Watch List ranking is largely explained by the increase in persecution in other countries – but is also because there was a slight decrease in violence, due to fewer church buildings and properties of Christians being attacked, as well as a decrease in the number of Christians being detained.
How can I help Christians in North Africa?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Tunisia. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, pastoral care and prayer support.
Heavenly Father, encourage Your children across Tunisia today. Bring each of them word of Your unfailing love (Psalm 143:8). Protect those vulnerable to persecution, and use their transformed lives to powerfully touch those who would pressure and persecute them. Heal and restore all believers wounded from traumatic and painful experiences. Bring breakthroughs to situations where Christians desperately need it, and provide safe opportunities for secret believers to gather for fellowship. Amen.