What does persecution look like in Tunisia?
Tunisia is 99% Muslim and Tunisian Christians, almost all of whom are from a Muslim background, are discriminated against by family and society.
Conversion from Islam is socially unacceptable. If discovered, Christian converts are subjected to hostility from their family, colleagues and friends. In some cases, the aggression may escalate to physical violence. Usually, this backlash takes place behind closed doors. In some cases, Christians are abandoned by their families and rejected by their friends. Their jobs may also be at risk.
Most Christian converts cannot worship openly and choose to hide their faith since it is dangerous to share their beliefs. Some brave Christians are willing to gather in worship and fellowship, but they tread carefully. If they're found to be part of a Christian gathering, they risk exposure and ostracism. They may be earmarked for monitoring by the security services.
The few foreign Christians in Tunisia experience a relative amount of freedom, although public evangelism is not tolerated.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Converts to Christianity are most vulnerable to persecution in Tunisia. As conversion from Islam is forbidden, new converts face a hostile backlash from their own families. This is especially true in the south of the country, where the Islamic population is more conservative. The threat in the south is compounded by the presence of violent Islamic extremist militants, who target Christians.
“There are many believers living in isolation scattered around in the country. We visit them and try to bring to them discipleship to equip them with the living Word of God. And we try to equip them so they can face persecution and stand firm in their faith”Farid is an Open Doors field worker in North Africa
What has changed this year?
Violence remains very high in Tunisia, and the pressure faced by Christians increased slightly over the last year. In July 2022, President Kais Saied consolidated his de facto coup via a constitutional referendum that returned Tunisia to one-man rule. Although the new constitution is ambiguous regarding freedom of religion or belief, it is feared that the current high levels of government monitoring of Tunisian Christians will only further increase.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Tunisia?
Open Doors works with local partners and churches in North Africa to provide leadership training, discipleship, livelihood support, Bibles and pastoral care.
How can you pray for Tunisia?
- Please pray for protection for believers from Muslim backgrounds. Ask God to soften the hearts of their families towards them
- Praise God that He continues to make Himself known to the people of Tunisia, despite the risks associated with Christianity there
- Pray that Christians who are abandoned by their families will find the pastoral care and livelihood support they need.
Dear Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Tunisia who risk their safety and security to know You. Work in the hearts of Tunisians to respond to Your people with love, rather than hostility. Heal those family bonds that have been broken. Encourage Christians who are downcast and lonely. Bring them into supportive communities who pour out encouragement and care. Provide ways for secret believers to gather safely. Amen.