#35 in Christian persecution, Tunisia
President Kais Saied
PROFILE OF PERSECUTION
Church Life 13.4/16.7
National Life 11.3/16.7
Community Life 10.6/16.7
Family Life 12.7/16.7
Private Life 11.9/16.7
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What does persecution look like in Tunisia?
For many Christians in Tunisia, the pressure they face is widespread and constant. While expatriate Christians are largely left alone, for Tunisian believers, pressure is high in every aspect, and the unseen difficulties of following Jesus in Tunisia impact believers around the North African nation. The situation is particularly dire for Christians who have converted from Islam. They face hostility and abuse from their families and their surrounding community. 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.
Meet “Nélya,” a Christian in North Africa (she may or may not live in Tunisia, but we cannot be specific about believers in North Africa for their protection)
“Women face rejection by their family and society. They can be kept in house arrest by their families. Many are not allowed to go to church or meet with Christians. They face opposition when they want to marry a Christian man. Family puts a lot of pressure on them to follow all Muslim traditions and to renounce their faith in Jesus. Some women are sent away by their families, they had to be rescued by the church.”
What has changed this year?
Pressure remains at a high level for Christians in Tunisia. Though not much has changed, that doesn’t mean things have necessarily improved—Christians everywhere in the country are still at risk for persecution, and Christians who came from Islam continue to bear immense pressure. Additionally, the country is currently in the midst of a political crisis. President Kais Saied dissolved parliament in August 2021 and dismissed the prime minister, leading many observers to note it seems he’s consolidating power. But no one is yet sure what this will mean for the Christian population, if anything.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Converts from Islam to Christianity are most at risk, due to pressure, abuse and threats from their family and the society around them. Southern Tunisia tends to be more conservative (and is an area where violent Islamic militias are active), so the risk is greatest in this region. Urban areas—particularly the capital city Tunis—tend to be more tolerant of Christians and even converts from Islam.
What does Open Doors do to help?
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Tunisia through discipleship training, literature distribution, socio-economic development, worldwide prayer support and advocacy.
Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).
Pray for Tunisia
Please pray for Christians in Tunisia who have converted from Islam. Pray for women who worry they will be forced to marry a Muslim man because they have decided to follow Jesus. Ask God to preserve and protect them, and ask Him to encourage them, even when they must follow Him in secret.
Pray for the Tunisian government and society as political turmoil continues. Pray God will prick the heart of those in authority, that they will seek the good of all people, including religious minorities, and pray the people will be protected from instability.
Pray for Open Doors partners in Tunisia, that they’d be encouraged and strengthened to continue doing God’s work in a difficult place.
Stories from Tunisia
January 18, 2021
13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day
July 28, 2020
Violence and COVID-19 turn African Christians into ‘endangered species’
May 12, 2020
How Muslims are finding Jesus without Christians in North Africa