Tunisia is a country in Northwest Africa that encompasses an area of 165,000 square km and has an estimated population of 11,304,482. A vast majority of the Tunisian population (98%) is Muslim. The remainder of the population (about 2%) adhere to other religions like Christianity and Judaism. Islam is the official state religion of Tunisia, and the constitution requires that the president be Muslim. However, religious freedom is allowed in Tunisia and citizens are allowed to practice their religion of choice. The secular culture of Tunisia also supports religious tolerance.
The Religious Compostition of Tunisia
Islam in Tunisia
Muslims in Tunisia are mainly Sunnis of the Maliki School. There is also a small population of Ibadhi Muslims in Tunisia, who are mostly concentrated on the island of Jerba, as well as a small Sufi community. The mosques in Tunisia and the salaries of Muslim prayer leaders are sponsored by the government. The Grand Mufti, the highest official of Islamic religious law, is appointed by Tunisia’s president. Activities of Tunisian mosques are closely regulated by the government, and once built become property of the government. Muslim holidays are treated as national holidays in Tunisia. Not adhering to religious laws, like eating in public during Ramadan, are subject to legal action.
Christianity in Tunisia
There are approximately 25,000 Christians in Tunisia, and this population is mainly composed of indigenous Berbers and natives of European and Arab descent. The country had a larger Christian population prior to Tunisian independence. The majority of Christians in Tunisia, about 20,000, are Roman Catholic. The Archdiocese of Tunis, which is the Roman Catholic Church authority in Tunisia, operates a number of churches, libraries, clinics, and schools. There are also about 2,000 Protestants in Tunisia.
Judaism in Tunisia
With about 1,500 followers, Judaism is the third largest religion in Tunisia. One-third of this population lives in or near the city of Tunis, which is the nation's capital, and the remainder live on the island of Djerba. Most of the Jews in Tunisia trace their origins to Israeli or Spanish immigrants.
Baha'i Faith in Tunisia
There is also a small Baha’i population in Tunisia, most of whom probably arrived from Egypt in 1910. Between 150 and 1,000 individuals in Tunisia practice this faith.