Tunisia
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (97.2%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Tunisia Northern Africa World
Muslim (all denominations combined) 99.5% 93.4% 22.8%
 
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 97.2% 92.8% 19%
     
  • Ibadi Muslim
  • 2.1% --- ---
     
  • Shia Muslim
  • 0.1% 0.3% 3.4%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 0.2% 5.3% 29.9%
     
  • Catholic
  • 0.2% 0.4% 15%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • < 0.1% < 0.1% 2.3%
    Other Religionist < 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 0.3% 0.8% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 63,170 square miles and a population of 10.2 million. The population is 99 percent Muslim and overwhelmingly Sunni. Less than one-half of 1 percent is Shi'a Muslim. There is a small indigenous "Maraboutic" Muslim community that belongs to spiritual brotherhoods known as "turuq." There are 200 Baha'is, and the community's presence dates back a century. The Government regards the Baha'i faith as a heretical sect of Islam and permits its adherents to practice their faith only in private.

    The Christian community, composed of foreign residents and a small group of native-born citizens of European or Arab descent, numbers approximately 25,000 and is dispersed throughout the country. There are an estimated 20,000 Roman Catholics, 500 of whom regularly practice. The Catholic Church operates 12 churches, 9 schools, several libraries, and 2 clinics. In addition to holding religious services, the Catholic Church freely organized cultural activities and performed charitable work throughout the country. According to church leaders, there are approximately 2,000 practicing Protestant Christians, including a few hundred citizens who have converted to Christianity. The Russian Orthodox Church has approximately 100 practicing members and maintains a churches in Tunis and Bizerte. The French Reform Church maintains a church in Tunis, with a congregation estimated at 140 primarily foreign members. The Anglican Church has a church in Tunis with several hundred predominantly foreign members. There are approximately 50 Seventh-day Adventists. The Greek Orthodox Church has an estimated 30 members and maintains 3 churches (in Tunis, Sousse, and Djerba). There are also approximately 50 Jehovah's Witnesses, of whom half are foreign residents and half are native-born citizens. Occasionally, Catholic and Protestant religious groups hold services in private residences or other locations.

    Judaism is the country's third largest religion with 1,500 members. One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital. The remainder lives on the island of Djerba, where the Jewish community dates back 2,500 years.

    The Government allows a small number of foreign religious charitable nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to operate and provide social services.


    Sources

    1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    3.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

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