Interfaith excursion in Tunis

Small numbers of Jews and Christians still contributes to a certain religious diversity in Tunisia where the majority is Sunni Muslims. They have little knowledge about each others’ religions.

Tunis is the capital in Tunisia where different religious communities have a long history
The vast majority in Tunisia are Muslims. In the capital Tunis you still find some churches and a synagogue that are still in use
In 2021 a group of young Tunisians visited the synagogue, a church and a mosque in Tunis. Most of the participants had never before visited a place of worship for Jews or Christians

A small Jewish community reside in the capital Tunis.

This place of worship came to existence almost a 100 years ago. Thousands of Jewish people used to live in the region of La Goulette
Being the only synagogue in the suburbs, the worshipers decided to restore it. They turned it into a single story building
Prayers are in Hebrew and this is the tone of Djerba

There are different Christian confessions in Tunis, including the Catholic tradition and the Anglican tradition.

The Anglican church has been present in Tunis since around 1850
Since the beginning, the Anglican community was located in the region of Bad Bahr. This church was built at the time where an old cemetery was relocated

The Al-Zitouna mosque is located in the old part of Tunis (the Medina). It is the most important mosque in Tunisia.

This mosque has accommodated worshippers for around 1300 years without interruption
The construction for the Al-Zitouna mosque ended in year 734 AD
The Al-Zituona mosque was the first educational institution where not only religious affairs were taught. Mathematics, cosmology, algebra, physics, chemistry and medicine were also taught
People of Al Madinah (the medieval Islamic state) were not of the same religion - they were Jewish, Christian, Muslims and others. Still the prophet Muhammed said "The people of Al Madinah is one nation"
The problem is not the differences. Diversity exist. The challenge is how to manage these differences and look for common values.
Visiting each others religions buildings may be a way to learn more about minorities and their history in a community
When learning about each other one may also discover similarities between different religious traditions

See the full film Pilgrims in Tunis

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Share your thoughts

Questions for reflection

How is religious diversity visible in your local community? I.e. places of worship (buildings and shrines) festivals, clothing, food, music etc.

How do you get to know about other religions in your local community? I.e. teaching in schools, through friends and family, by visiting other religious buildings etc.

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