By: Guadalupe Muñoa
Nothing is impossible in soccer. The Tunisians have been known to be an unpredictable opponent and will be looking to spring a surprise at the 2022 World Cup after qualifying for the sixth time on March 29, 2022, joining Group D along with Denmark, Australia, and France. This time, they’ll arrive in Qatar with the dream of advancing to the round of 16, with some help from their best player: 31-year-old Wahbi Khazri.
Tunisia is a welcoming land of natural beauty, ancient cities, and lively festivals — a mix of tradition and modernity. You can see colors, smell aromas, and taste flavors of many celebrated civilizations that have left their mark. The country is famous for the Djem amphitheater, the ruins of ancient Carthage, the holy city of Kerouan, the fortresses of Monastir, and the mud houses of Tozeur. The buildings and mosques of Mandia are also impressive, as are the Roman city of Dougga and the troglodyte houses in Matmata.
With the dissolution of parliament, Tunisia is a country currently in political crisis trying to move towards democracy. In 2015, this democratic transition was the cause for terrorist attacks, which ended up in lives and tourism lost. A pioneer in gender equality, Tunisia’s economic activity centers on agriculture, livestock, tourism, trade, and oil imports. Arabic and French are spoken around tables, where Tunisian delicacies like prickly pears and dates are served.
One of the biggest impacts on the nation’s people is their religion; Islam is the state religion and makes up 99% of the total population, while Christianity is a mere 0.35%. Christians are persecuted and face many challenges in the southern region. They’re oppressed by Islamic extremists, but do not waver in their desire to know more about the gospel. Public evangelism is not tolerated by authorities and could be grounds for punishment. Those who leave Islam to follow another religion are especially harassed and feel strong societal pressure. Despite the political changes in the country since the Arab Spring, there have been few significant changes for the church. Although the government does not allow Christian groups to establish themselves as associations, the number of Christ followers continues to grow.
Let us pray for the Christians who have converted from Islam, that they will be protected by God. Even when they must follow Him in secret, pray they know they are not alone and that they would be strengthened in Jesus’ name.
Pray for the Tunisian government and society as the political turmoil continues. May the Lord touch the hearts of the authorities that they may work for the good of the people, including religious minorities.
Credit: Jean Pierre Maraví Coppa
Credit: David Volpini